Earlier this month, the San Francisco 49ers exercised the fifth year option on free safety Eric Reid. The team's 2013 first round pick signed a four-year contract with a team option for 2017. The $5,676,000 salary is guaranteed for injury, and becomes fully guaranteed if Reid is on the roster next spring.
On Wednesday, Reid was one of the players available to the media (transcript), and he was asked about his contract status. He said, "I hope so," when someone mentioned Trent Baalke talking about wanting to keep him around. He offered up the usual cliches when asked about the status of any negotiations.
I just want to play football, man. What's going to happen is going to happen, It's out of my control. Me worrying about it isn't going to make it come any faster. So I just want to be out here to play football with my guys and go home to my family every day.
Someone followed up asking him if he gets the feeling the team wants to see more production out of him before getting to a longer contract. If he was unhappy he might say something about already producing, but obviously he did not say that. And I don't think anybody would expect that out of him. Here was his response:
That's business isn't it? You look at any form of business not just football, they want production. I haven't had that conversation, but it's obvious they want to see something so that's all business.
The salary cap is certainly not a notable concern right now for an extension. But it makes sense to want to see something this season, both in terms of production and health. Reid struggled at times last season, and while many aspects of the team struggled, the team will want to see him bounce back this fall. As for injuries, he has only missed one game in three seasons, but the concussions in 2013 and 2014 will likely remain a worry. I don't think the threat of concussions right now would prevent the team from extending him, but I'd think it's at least on the radar.
We have had some discussion here that the team might move on from Reid rather than extend him. They have Jimmie Ward as a potential safety, and the addition of Will Redmond as a potential nickel back was notable. However, Ward is now playing a lot of outside cornerback in OTAs. That doesn't mean he won't eventually move to safety like Trent Baalke mentioned, but at the right price with Reid, why handcuff yourself a bit by parting ways with a talented player? There's a lot of time for this to get decided, and if Reid gets off to a solid start this fall, I could see an extension getting done during the season.