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Panthers re-sign Eric Reid to 3-year deal worth more than $22M

In signing Eric Reid Monday to a three-year deal worth more than $22 million, with incentives that could push the total package to $24 million, the Carolina Panthers made a statement about the veteran safety's value to the organization.

The larger message may have been this: Reid's collusion case against the NFL could be all but finished. And his close friend and former 49ers teammate, Colin Kaepernick, might have a harder time winning his collusion case against the league, given that Reid was able to land a reasonably strong deal in what remains an oversaturated safety market.

Reid, who signed with Carolina last Sept. 28 after a long, futile stretch as a free agent, received $10 million in guaranteed money from the Panthers upon signing Monday's pact, according to a source familiar with the contract, which the team later officially announced. That's a far cry from the one-year, $2-million contract he received in 2018, and a clear sign that the Panthers appreciated his presence, on and off the field. In 13 games with Carolina, Reid had one interception, one sack, five passes defensed and 71 total tackles, including three for loss.

Reid, the first player to join Kaepernick in kneeling for the national anthem during the 2016 season, had been unable to find employment after his contract with the 49ers expired a year ago. He had one free agent visit -- to Cincinnati, last April -- but the Bengals didn't offer him a contract. The NFL Players Association later filed a grievance against the team, asserting that owner Mike Brown had negotiated in bad faith. During the visit, Reid said, Brown had asked the safety if he planned to keep kneeling during the anthem. An arbitrator ruled in the Bengals' favor last October.

While with the Panthers, Reid continued to kneel for the anthem. He also generated controversy by claiming he had been singled out in the league's random-testing process for performance-enhancing drugs, claiming he had been chosen to give samples seven times since signing with Carolina. The NFL and NFLPA launched a joint investigation and, last month, determined that there was no evidence Reid had been targeted.

Last May, the NFLPA filed a grievance on Reid's behalf alleging that team owners and the league, influenced by President Donald Trump, colluded to prevent Reid's employment because of his protests against social injustice during the playing of the anthem. The grievance, as of Monday, was still active.

A similar grievance had previously been filed on behalf of Kaepernick, who has been unemployed since hitting free agency in 2017. Last August, an arbitrator ruled against the league's attempts to throw out the former 49ers quarterback's claims, allowing the case to proceed to trial.

Both Kaepernick and Reid are represented in those endeavors by attorney Mark Geragos. In September, Nike signed Kaepernick to a lucrative endorsement deal, launching an advertising campaign surrounding his social activism and giving him his own apparel line within the company.

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