Resigning Eric Reid must be in Panthers offseason plans
The Panthers need to pay one of their top defensive players.
There were many hot takes in the wake of the Carolina Panthers 30-27 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. From media to the fans, everyone had an opinion. One take that I could get behind was that the Panthers need to re-sign safety Eric Reid. Once thought to be a nice supplemental piece to an already-stacked defense, Reid has quickly turned into one of the best players on that side of the football.
Reid recorded seven total tackles in the game, including one for a loss. Per statistics from Pro Football Focus, Reid had a defensive rating of 65.6. In addition, his run defense rating was a very good mark of 71.2. That was his highest number since week six against Washington. In that game, he notched a rating of 75.1. Sure, he has had some games where his play has been rough at times. However, for the most part you know what you’re getting from him every Sunday. You are getting a spirited performance that combines aggression and pure skill to create a stellar defensive player.
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It is worth looking at his complete body of work since he joined the Panthers in the beginning of October. He has recorded 38 tackles and a sack. Perhaps an overlooked statistic is the fact that he has only missed four tackles. While that may seem like a lot since players are never supposed to miss any tackles, that is a very good number. Oftentimes as a safety, you are left one-on-one with the offensive player as you are one of the last lines of defense.
This brings me to my overall point. Eric Reid is on a one-year deal. With the way he has been playing (good) compared to the way the rest of the defense has been playing (bad), the Panthers need to re-sign him in the off-season. Reid signed a one-year, $1.3 million contract with the team and is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the off-season. That includes a $390,000 roster bonus, and a $300,000 bonus in incentives. All things considered, it is a very team-friendly contract for a player of his caliber.
The Panthers are projected to have a little over $22 million in cap space next season per Sportrac. With the way Reid’s contract is currently, he could still get a significant raise while not putting too much of a burden on the Panthers cap. Of course, the team’s number one priority is going to be re-signing wide receiver Devin Funchess. That should take up a significant amount of the salary cap. Even still, there should be a good amount of money left over for Reid.
Carolina needs to at least consider offering him a deal at season’s end. He has been the one constant in an inconsistent defense and he should be rewarded for it. He could be a major building block for the Panthers defense over the course of the next couple of seasons. I think the Panthers are recognizing it more and more as the weeks go on, now they need to take action. Along with their star wideout, they need to pay one of the more productive members of their defense.