The Carolina Panthers announced Thursday morning they've signed the safety, who joined Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest social injustice and racial inequality.
The one-year deal has a base value of $1 million and can be worth up to $1.9 million, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. It includes play-time incentives, Pro Bowl incentives and per-game roster bonuses.
The free agent had gone unsigned throughout the offseason and into the start of the regular season despite a solid season playing multiple roles in San Francisco last year.
"Eric has been a starting safety in the NFL and has played at a high level throughout his career," general manager Marty Hurney said in a statement. "After we put Da'Norris Searcy on injured reserve, Ron [Rivera] and I discussed our options, and Eric was at the top of our list. He is a physical safety with good ball skills and play-making ability."
Adding a veteran of Reid's caliber during the season should provide a needed coverage ability and versatility on the Panthers' back end. The 26-year-old played at least 100 defensive snaps at safety, slot cornerback, off-ball linebacker and edge with the 49ers last season, per Pro Football Focus. For his career, Reid has started 69 regular season games played, earning 375 tackles, 10 interceptions, 34 passes defended, and two forced fumbles. He earned Pro Bowl honors his rookie season.
Reid joined Kaepernick in filing a grievance against the NFL alleging collusion against players who protested during the national anthem. Reid's place in the collusion lawsuit remains unchanged despite the signing, Rapoport reported.
"Congratulations to my brother @e_reid35, an all pro safety who should have been signed the first day of free agency, who has signed a football contract," Kaepernick wrote. "He was the FIRST person to kneel alongside me. Eric is a social justice warrior, continues to support his wife, two beautiful daughters and communities in need."
"These are some of the most patriotic people and best people. These are great young men," Tepper told CNBC on Sept. 13. "So to say that [they aren't patriotic] makes me so aggravated and angry. It's just wrong, it's dead wrong."
"I know how he is, his talent. If it's something where [general manager Marty Hurney or Rivera] come and talk to me about him, I'll be glad to talk about him as a player and as a person. He's one of the best men that I've been around. I hope that's something that can happen for us, because I know with the injuries that we have he could help this team."
"I'm just happy for him. Excited to see him get out there on the field and be the impact player we all know he is," Stills told NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. "Obviously I feel he should've been signed the first day of free agency. It's a long time coming. I'm excited for him. I can't wait to see him ball."