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.