By C.J. Peterson
Special to S.F. Examiner
The San Francisco 49ers are open to re-signing safety Eric Reid, but he may not be interested.
According to head coach Kyle Shanahan, the team would be willing to have Reid back on the team as a backup if the Pro-Bowl defensive back is up for a diminished role and a drastic salary cut.
“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,” Shanahan said on Tuesday, in reference to signing Reid.
Reid and former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, are currently suing the NFL for collusion. The pair claim that the league has worked to keep them unemployed after famously protesting the National Anthem over the past three seasons.
The NFL Network reported last week that the 49ers showed interest in adding Reid to their roster again this season, which Shanahan confirmed. He also noted that Reid likely wouldn’t be interested in what San Francisco is willing to offer: A league-minimum deal ($790,000).
“You can’t give a lot of money to backups, and that’s what he would be if he came here,” said Shanahan. “I don’t think that’s what Eric wants.”
Over the offseason, the 49ers chose to release Reid and hand the starting role at strong safety to Samford University product Jaquiski Tartt, who San Francisco drafted in 2015.
In the offseason, San Francisco gave Tartt a two-year extension worth $14 million. In 2018 Tartt will be making just over $1 million, over $4 million less than what Reid made in 2017 ($5.4 Million).
“We made a tough decision, but we had to do it,” said Shanahan. “We went with [Jaquiski] Tartt. We thought that was the right way to go.”
While Reid has been sitting on the couch, the 49ers have been having a tough time keeping backup safeties healthy. During their stay in Houston before their second preseason game, the 49ers lost rookies Marcell Harris and Terrell Williams. Those injuries led to the re-signing of former San Francisco safety Dexter McCoil.
Similar to what they would do with Reid, the 49ers signed McCoil to a one-year, $639,000 base salary.
Over the course of a five-year career in San Francisco, Reid played in a total of 70 games. Registering 257 total tackles in those games, Reid also snagged 10 interceptions for the 49ers.
Although Reid’s play was strong, for the majority of his last three years in San Francisco were overshadowed by his methods of political protest. Following his former teammate, Kaepernick, Reid became one of the faces of the league-wide phenomenon.
After failing to field any offers following the expiration of his contract after the 2017 season, Reid elected to follow through with the collusion lawsuit.
While Reid has yet to publicly address his ongoing legal matter or his future in the league, Shanahan and the 49ers’ opinion of their former second-round draft pick is still high. Unfortunately for San Francisco’s roster depth, that opinion may not be enough.
“I like Eric. Eric is a good player, he’s a good person,” said Shanahan. “That’d be great if we could add him to that role. I don’t think he would be that interested in it.”