The Cincinnati Bengals met with former San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid last week but he left without a deal. Are they waiting until after the draft?
The Cincinnati Bengals were the first to reach out to safety Eric Reid, formally playing for the San Francisco 49ers, this offseason but he ended up leaving without an offer. Most of the news on the situation is circling around Bengals owner Mike Brown asking Reid about his thoughts on not kneeling in 2018. Brown mentioned that he was considering prohibiting kneeling during the anthem this coming season and Reid was unwilling to fully commit at the time.
Cincinnati has not had any players kneel during the anthem this past season possibly in result to the locker room and coaching staff discussion. Regardless of how you might feel with the kneeling, Reid could be a big impact for the Bengals defense if they ended up snatching him off of the free agent market. He would give new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin someone to move around the defense that he is instilling in Cincinnati.
It might not be in the Bengals best interest to sign Reid this early, however. Considering we are a week and a half away from the NFL draft, it would not be smart to sign a player until after the draft. There are plenty of safeties in this year’s draft that could play a versatile strong safety role in the Bengals defense right away. With the depth at the position, some of those players are likely to not only fall to the Bengals picking order at 21 but even in the second round.
If they can grab a guy who would normally be in the top half of the first round at the beginning of the second round, they absolutely should be considering it. No one knows how the draft will shape up, especially in the first round, and why would you sign a safety this close to the draft before seeing how the draft went. Maybe those offensive linemen they wanted aren’t there and the best guys on their board are safety prospects.
Some names that are likely to fall to one of their first couple picks are Alabama safety Ronnie Harrison, Reid’s younger brother Justin Reid out of Stanford, and possibly even a great prospect in Florida State Derwin James. Taking one of these safeties over Eric could be in the best interest for the Bengals as it would provide them with a player that doesn’t have red flags regarding the anthem, cheap rookie deals for four years, and potential to all be even better than Eric at the next level.
If the Bengals do however get the offensive linemen and/or linebacker in the first few rounds and there is not a safety that they think will contribute right away, they can revisit the Eric Reid option. Giving themselves a ride open window of possibilities before the draft is the smart road to take. It’s not like teams are lining up at the door to bring in Eric Reid as the Bengals are the only team to visit with him. It could still be a cheap option if the Bengals feel they need him post draft.