Nearly a month after free agency started, safety Eric Reid finally is taking his first visit.
Reid will visit the Cincinnati Bengals, and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said it’s believed this is his first free-agent visit. The lack of known interest in Reid has become one of the stories of the past few weeks in the NFL. Reid kneeled next to Colin Kaepernick during the national anthem to bring awareness to social issues in 2016, when they were teammates on the San Francisco 49ers. Kaepernick spent the entire 2017 season without being signed, then filed a collusion grievance against the NFL. When Reid spent the first few weeks of free agency without being signed, it raised some suspicion to say the least.
“I’m praying he gets picked up,” Richard Sherman, who signed with the 49ers this offseason, said at his introductory press conference. “But if he doesn’t, I think there will be a conversation with the league office and the union on potential legal action.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was even asked about it at his press conference from the league’s meeting in late March, and he side-stepped it by saying he had no control over who teams sign.
Reid’s visit to Cincinnati doesn’t mean he’ll sign there, but at least it’s a step. Reid is a multi-talented safety who even played a bit at linebacker for the 49ers when he was needed there. He was the 30th ranked safety in Pro Football Focus’ grades last season. He’s not an Ndamukong Suh-level free agent, but he is a good player and certainly should have an NFL job this season. Of course, the same has been said about Kaepernick and he doesn’t seem close to being employed in the NFL.
The NFL presumably doesn’t want to have to answer questions over the summer and fall about why Reid is unsigned. Some teams have likely crossed Reid off their list. But it would just take one team to sign Reid and prevent another outcry, and perhaps the Bengals will do just that.
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