49ers

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

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USATSI

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. 

Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid resolve pending grievances against NFL

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AP

Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid resolve pending grievances against NFL

Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid have settled their collusion grievances against the National Football League with a confidential settlement, lawyers representing both men and the NFL announced Friday in a joint statement.

“For the past several months, counsel for Mr. Kaepernick and Mr. Reid have engaged in an ongoing dialogue with representatives of the NFL," the statement read. "As a result of those discussions, the parties have decided to resolve the pending grievances. The resolution of this matter is subject to a confidentiality agreement so there will be no further comment by any party.”

Kaepernick, 31, has remained out of the NFL since the end of the 2016 season. He played six seasons with the 49ers and became the center of a nationwide controversy with his decision to kneel during the playing of the national anthem as a protest against racial inequality during the 2016 season.

Reid, 27, joined Kaepernick in the protest, which began during the exhibition season in 2016. Reid continued his protest in 2017 with the 49ers and last season with the Carolina Panthers. Reid is a six-year NFL veteran who played his first five seasons with the 49ers.

While Kaepernick has not played in the NFL the past two seasons, Reid experienced a slow free-agent market last offseason before finally signing with the Panthers in late September. Reid appeared in 13 games for the Panthers and last week signed a three-year extension worth more than $21 million.

The NFL Players Association released the following statement:

"Today, we were informed by the NFL of the settlement of the Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid collusion cases. We are not privy to the details of the settlement, but support the decision by the players and their counsel. We continuously supported Colin and Eric from the start of their protests, participated with their lawyers throughout their legal proceedings and were prepared to participate in the upcoming trial in pursuit of both truth and justice for what we believe the NFL and its clubs did to them. We are glad that Eric has earned a job and a new contract, and we continue to hope that Colin gets his opportunity as well."

[RELATED: AAF reportedly interested in Kaepernick]

In August, an arbitrator denied the NFL’s request to throw out the claims that owners conspired to keep Kaepernick out of the league because of his protests. The grievance was scheduled to be heard this month.

In November 2017, attorney Mark Geragos, representing Kaepernick, notified the NFL they were seeking electronic communications, including text messages and emails, of personnel from NFL teams that were linked to Kaepernick.

AAF has interest in signing Colin Kaepernick, just like the NFL should

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AP

AAF has interest in signing Colin Kaepernick, just like the NFL should

We don't know when or if Colin Kaepernick will ever play football again.

We do know, however, that even if the NFL isn't interested in his services, someone else is.

According to Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk, the Alliance of American Football recently reached out to Kaepernick to gauge his interest in playing in the new football league.

Per Williams' report, AAF co-founder Bill Polian told The Athletic that CEO Charlie Ebersol was the one to reach out to Kaepernick.

"I don’t know what transpired, but he’s obviously not playing," Polian said.

The AAF is in its debut season, but one of the early critiques of the league is its lack of quality quarterbacks. In addition to Kaepernick, the AAF reportedly also reached out to former Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, who declined.

After news of the AAF's contact with Kaepernick broke, Barry Wilner of the Associated Press subsequently reported that Kaepernick's reasoning for declining to join the AAF was financially motivated.

According to Wilner's report, a person with knowledge of the conversation told the Associated Press that Kaepernick, "wanted $20 million or more to consider playing with the league that had its debut last weekend." That person spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Not to question anyone's credibility, but that $20 million number is awfully hard to believe, for several reasons.

For one, it's a number that would dwarf all other salaries in the league. AAF players sign three-year contracts worth a total of $250,000.

Additionally, there is nothing in Kaepernick's past that would support the notion that he's in it for the money. Just think about all the money he's donated out of his own pockets to the numerous social causes that have undoubtedly played a major role in his shunning from the NFL.

And, finally, if the NFL was going to find a way to try to sully Kaepernick's character and land a punch in the arena of public opinion, wouldn't leaking a false claim such as that $20 million number make a lot of sense?

[RELATED: Colorado sports store closes after Nike, Kaepernick boycott]

The AAF wants Kaepernick, much like the NFL should.

But that $20 million number?

That doesn't make any sense.