49ers

Eric Reid signs three-year Panthers contract; Colin Kaepernick still unsigned

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Eric Reid signs three-year Panthers contract; Colin Kaepernick still unsigned

Eric Reid didn't have to wait nearly as long for a contract this time around. 

The former 49ers safety signed a three-year contract extension with the Carolina Panthers on Monday, the team announced. The deal is worth up to $24 million, NFL.com's Mike Silver reported. 

Reid became a free agent last year after the 49ers did not re-sign him following the 2017 season. He did not sign with the Panthers until Sept. 27, just ahead of Week 4, for reasons that might or might not have had much to do with his ability to play football.

The 27-year-old was the first player to kneel alongside then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the national anthem in order to protest police brutality and racial injustice. Reid remained vocal on social-justice issues in San Francisco after Kaepernick opted out of his 49ers contract ahead of the 2017 season, and then in Carolina last season.

Despite the murmurs about Reid's activism being a "distraction," he posted 71 combined tackles -- the second-most of his career -- in just 13 games. Veteran Panthers tackle Matt Kalil called Reid an "incredible teammate." and apparently it wasn't enough of a distraction to prevent the Panthers from making a multi-year commitment to Reid.

Kaepernick -- whose 49ers teammates awarded him the Len Eshmont Award in 2016 -- was never afforded the same opportunity. 

The QB has been unsigned for nearly two years since he opted out with the 49ers, who ultimately would've released Kaepernick if he hadn't. Reid's signing indicates his vocal activism for social and racial justice wasn't a problem, so why does it seem to be one for Kaepernick?

He -- and his lawyer -- would argue it's a result of collusion among NFL owners bowing to political pressure from the White House. Kaepernick formally filed a grievance against the league in 2017, and a hearing reportedly was scheduled for early this year.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell argued ahead of Super Bowl LIII that a team would have signed Kaepernick if they thought he could "help their team win," -- after teams signed quarterbacks who hadn't. Coaches have expressed concerns about Kaepernick's ability to fit in their offenses ... after signing QBs who didn't. 

No collusion? Next, NFL owners might have you believe they're victims of a witch hunt. 

Watch young Broncos fan almost walk off with Jimmy Garoppolo's helmet

Watch young Broncos fan almost walk off with Jimmy Garoppolo's helmet

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will always make time for his fans.

Heck, he'll even make time for opposing fans, just don't steal his helmet -- it doesn't matter how cute you are.

During the 49ers-Denver Broncos joint practice on Saturday, Jimmy G ran up to some fans and started signing autographs. Including a young Broncos-shirt wearing kid. The quarterback asked him to hold his helmet for a bit so he could sign, and the youngin' almost ran off with it before Garoppolo asked for it back:

"I need that back, though," Garoppolo laughed.

All in good fun.

But the man's got to keep that helmet.

It would have been fun to watch him try and run off with it though.

Richard Sherman, 49ers defense 'light years ahead' of last season

Richard Sherman, 49ers defense 'light years ahead' of last season

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The day after Richard Sherman praised both teams for their lack of physical conflict, the re-energized 49ers defense got under the skin of the Broncos and the result was a sideline-clearing skirmish.

“If it’s clean like it was today, two teams just competing, getting after it and perfecting their craft against guys who are different, not all the fights and excess then it’s fine,” Sherman said after the first joint practice in Colorado on Friday,

Unfortunately, it got a little chippy between the 49ers' defense and the Broncos' offense during the second day of team drills.

There was pretty big hit by the 49ers defense that resulted in a tackle for a loss and tempers started to flare. The ensuing play was an incomplete pass from Drew Lock to rookie tight end Troy Fumagalli. Marcell Harris went flying across the field as a result of an apparent blind side shove and both groups tussled on the field for over 30 seconds.

Two Broncos players, receiver Brendan Langley and tight end Bug Howard were ejected from practice. Coach Kyle Shanahan said he didn’t see the melee but like anything else, he will watch the film to make sure his players were not the instigators.

“Yeah, they got into a little scuffle over there,” Shanahan said. “I actually wasn’t on the field, so I didn’t see much of it. By the time I got over there, it was pretty much broken up. I know a couple guys got sent in. I was told none of our guys threw punches, so when I see the tape, we’ll see if they were telling the truth. Hopefully, they were.”

While the 49ers' defense may not have started the fight, they decidedly are more confident this season.

“It’s light years ahead of last year,” Sherman said. “I think it’s just young guys being veterans this year. I think the experience that a lot of guys playing a lot of downs last year gave them the confidence they needed to take the next steps.

“That’s why you see our twos and threes way ahead of where they were last year and our ones light years ahead of where they were, especially with the talent. Even when you’re missing Dee Ford and [Nick] Bosa right now, we’re still making plays, we’re getting the rush, we still have the intensity."

Sherman also noted how the addition of Kwon Alexander’s high level of energy has affected second-year linebacker Fred Warner in a positive way.

“It’s huge,” Sherman said. “You see it because they are tone setters. They’re in the middle they are just about on every tackle. They can feel every pass play every run play and when they’re bringing energy I think it emulates throughout the defense. The D-line feels it, the secondary feels it. Their intensity can change the day.”

[RELATED: Why Lynch is confident Jimmy G will have successful return]

When asked who started the fight, Sherman smiled.

"Good question. We'll just say them. It was them."