Eric Reid: New Panthers deal 'proves my point' that NFL colluded

Eric Reid signed a $1.69 million contract to play with the Carolina Panthers last September.

The deal happened four weeks into the NFL season and came months after Reid filed a collusion grievance against the NFL, believing that owners had conspired to keep him unemployed because of his stance on social injustice protests and alignment with Colin Kaepernick.

Reid’s new deal

On Monday, he got a hefty raise on a three-year extension in Carolina. The 27-year-old one-time Pro Bowler is slated to make more than $22 million with $10 million in guarantees over the life of the contract that he believes is “fair-market value.”

He also believes the contract only bolsters his case against the league that collusion kept him from getting a fair deal earlier.

Reid: Contract ‘proves my point from last year’

“If anything, it proves my point from last year,” Reid told reporters. “I didn’t sign until the (fourth) week and did for almost the league minimum. And this year I signed a more substantial contract. And nothing has changed. I’m still the same player.”

Reid’s numbers last season fell in line with much of what he’s accomplished over his career. In 13 games, Reid tallied 71 tackles with five passes defended, a sack and an interception.

In five prior seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, Reid averaged 65 tackles, two interceptions and 6.8 passes defended over 14 games per season with one career sack.

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Eric Reid since joining the Carolina Panthers
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Eric Reid since joining the Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers' Eric Reid (25) kneels as Cam Newton (1) stands during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek)
Carolina Panthers strong safety Eric Reid, center, takes a knee during the playing of the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson (26) is stopped by Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid (25) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Baltimore Ravens' Chris Moore (10) runs after a catch ads Carolina Panthers' Eric Reid (25) defends in the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
Carolina Panthers' Eric Reid (25) reacts after making a stop during an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)
Carolina Panthers' Eric Reid (25) returns an interception against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Carolina Panthers' Eric Reid (25) kneels during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) is hit by Carolina Panthers strong safety Eric Reid (25) as he slides at the end of a run during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. Reid was ejected. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Carolina Panthers strong safety Eric Reid heads to the locker room after being ejected following a hit on Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Carolina Panthers' Eric Reid (25) kneels during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
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Reid has a point

So yeah. He’s pretty much the same player he always was. Only now he has job stability and is making approximately four times the annual salary he did when the Panthers made the one-year deal last fall.

Reid lost a grievance against the Cincinnati Bengals after the team asked him specifically if he intended to continue kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest against social inequality and racial injustice. An arbitrator ruled that the team was within its rights to ask the question.

Reid’s collusion grievance ongoing

But his grievance against the league is still ongoing and expected to be resolved this year.

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Reid’s stance that his new deal only bolsters his claim against league owners has merit. The Panthers eventually decided to bypass the noise of the kneeling protest when a football need presented itself and took a chance that signing Reid would be worth the potential backlash.

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Eric Reid protesting during the national anthem
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Eric Reid protesting during the national anthem
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Colin Kaepernick #7 and Eric Reid #35 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel in protest during the national anthem prior to playing the Los Angeles Rams in their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 18: Eric Reid #35 and Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel on the sideline, during the anthem, prior to the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers defeated the 49ers 46-27. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Colin Kaepernick #7 and Eric Reid #35 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel in protest during the national anthem prior to playing the Los Angeles Rams in their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 25: (L-R) fFee safety Eric Reid #35, quarterback Colin Kaepernick #7 and outside linebacker Eli Harold #58 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel on the sidelines during the national anthem before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on September 25, 2016 in Seattle,Washington. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 02: (L-R) Eli Harold #58, Colin Kaepernick #7 and Eric Reid #35 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel on the sideline during the National Anthem prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi's Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 6: Eli Harold #58. Colin Kaepernick #7 and Eric Reid #35 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel on the sideline during the anthem prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi Stadium on October 6, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. The Cardinals defeated the 49ers 33-21. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 15: Eli Harold #58, Colin Kaepernick #7 and Eric Reid #35 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel in protest on the sideline, during the anthem, prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on October 16, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York. The Bills defeated the 49ers 45-16. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 23: Eric Reid #35, Colin Kaepernick #7 and Eli Harold #58 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel in protest during the national anthem prior to their NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi's Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 16: Eli Harold #58 of the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers (not shown) and Eric Reid #35 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the national anthem before the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on October 16, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 13: Eric Reid #35, Colin Kaepernick #7 and Eli Harold #58 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel on the sideline, during the anthem, the game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the 49ers 23-20. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 27: Eric Reid #35 of the San Francisco 49ers kneels dugout the National Anthem before the preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings on August 27, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 11: Eric Reid #35 of the San Francisco 49ers kneels on the sideline, during the anthem, prior to the game against the New York Jets at Levi Stadium on December 11, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. The Jets defeated the 49ers 23-17. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Eric Reid #35 of the San Francisco 49ers leads the team in a 'call to attention' during the anthem, prior to the game against the Carolina Panthers at Levi's Stadium on September 10, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. The Panthers defeated the 49ers 23-3. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 26: Eli Harold #57, Eric Reid #35 and Marquise Goodwin #11 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel on the sideline, during the anthem, prior to the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium on November 26, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 24-13. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 24: Eli Harold #57, Eric Reid #35, Marquise Goodwin #11 and Louis Murphy #18 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel on the sideline as Adrian Colbert #38 stands with them in solidarity, during the anthem, prior to the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Levi's Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Jaguars 44-33. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 8: Eric Reid #35 of the San Francisco 49ers leads the team as they kneel and stand together during the anthem prior to the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts defeated the 49ers 26-23. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 31: Eli Harold #57, Eric Reid #35, Marquise Goodwin #11 and Louis Murphy #18 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the anthem as Reuben Foster #56 and Adrian Colbert #38 stand in solidarty, prior to the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on December 31, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. The 49ers defeated the Rams 34-13. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
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Hard to predict outcome of collusion case

His performance validated that gamble, and the Panthers are moving forward long-term with their starting safety. There was no valid football reason for Reid to not be on a field.

Whether his collusion case is rewarded is another thing altogether. While it’s impossible to reasonably deny that Reid was kept off the field for issues that had nothing to do with his performance, how his claim will be viewed on legal grounds is yet to be determined.

The Bengals outwardly decided to make his protest an issue, and an arbitrator decided that was OK.

But it only takes two teams to collude. The fact that the Panthers eventually signed Reid would not change that fact.

Reid’s lost hope in Kaepernick’s return

As for Kaepernick, who is the face of NFL protest and remains out of the league despite multiple needs for a quarterback of his caliber arising last season, Reid’s not holding out hope that he suits up next season.

“Knowing what I know, my hope tank is on E.”

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