Eric Reid is finally back in the NFL, signs with Panthers

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One of the best available free agents finally has a home: The Panthers signed safety Eric Reid on Thursday.

"Eric has been a starting safety in the NFL and has played at a high level throughout his career," general manager Marty Hurney said, via the team's website. "After we put (safety) 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."

Reid, a 2013 first-round pick of the 49ers, knelt alongside Colin Kaepernick during the 2016 season to protest social injustice, and did the same in 2017, went unsigned this offseason and was passed over by several teams -- including the Titans and Falcons -- in need of help at safety before the Panthers signed him. In May, Reid  filed a collusion grievance against the NFL, and a week later the NFL Players Association filed a non-injury grievance on his behalf. 

According to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, "Reid did not agree to dismiss or settle his collusion grievance as part of his contract in Carolina."

In Carolina, Reid joins a defense that has uncharacteristically struggled this season; the unit, regularly among the league's best, currently ranks 23rd overall, via Football Outsiders' metrics, and are 20th in pass defense. Reid should help improve those numbers. The Panthers, who are in a three-way tie atop the NFC South, are on their bye. They'll host the Giants in Week 5 and we're guessing there's a good chance Reid plays for the first time since Dec. 2017.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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