SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers currently have a shortage of safeties with injuries to starters Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert, and they won't fill it with Eric Reid.
The former 49ers safety remained unsigned until Thursday, when the Carolina Panthers added him to their roster on a one-year contract.
Reid had taken a prominent and, in some circles, a controversial role in joining former 49ers teammate Colin Kaepernick at the beginning of the 2016 season in protesting social inequality in America. The two men conducted their public protest by kneeling during the national anthem.
When asked during training camp about the possibility of re-signing Reid, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan explained the organization made the decision to make a commitment to Tartt, signing him to a two-year contract extension that could pay him $14.6 million through the 2020 season.
The 49ers reportedly offered Eric Reid a one-year contract earlier this week. The team decided Tartt and Colbert would be the long-term starters at the safety positions, so any players added there would be considered backups and paid accordingly.
“If any really good player wants to come in here on a minimum deal and have a good player to be a backup, that’d be unbelievable. I don’t think that’s what Eric wants,” Shanahan said in August.
“The reason we decided to go that direction is because we made a tough decision, but we had to do it. We went with Tartt. We thought that was the right way to go. You can’t give a lot of money to backups, and that’s what he would be if he came here. But I like Eric. Eric is a good player. He’s a good person. That’d be great if we could add him to that role. I don’t think he would be that interested in it.”
Reid is expected to be a starter for the Panthers after the team placed starter Da’Norris Searcy on injured reserve this week. Reid played five seasons for the 49ers after they chose him as a first-round draft pick in 2013. He earned a trip to the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
Tartt was not active for the 49ers’ game Sunday in Kansas City because of a shoulder injury. Colbert sustained a hip injury in the first half. The 49ers lined up Antone Exum and rookie D.J. Reed at the safety positions in the team’s 38-27 loss.