New San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman met with the media on Tuesday, answering a broad range of questions during this press conference. Most dealt with his health and joining a rising 49ers squad, but he got plenty of off-field questions as well.
Sherman was a union rep with the Seattle Seahawks, and is a member of the NFLPA executive committee. He was actually in Las Vegas for a meeting of the executive committee when the 49ers called after his release.
Sherman has never been one to shy away from expressing his opinions to the media. And given his outspoken nature coupled with his role with the union, it is not surprising he got a question about former 49ers safety Eric Reid. There has not been a single rumor connecting Reid to a team for a visit, or even interest. Sherman was asked if he was concerned with Reid’s current status.
“We are concerned, because he played at a high level for just about every year that he’s played in this league. He’s made enough plays to be signed with a team and to make his money. He deserves his money. Safeties make a certain amount. I would think he’s top-five, top-10 safeties in this league so he deserves to be paid accordingly. So, there is concern there, because you would think a player of his caliber and his quality would be picked up by now. I think great teams are still looking and people are still looking for players. I’m praying that he gets picked up, but if he doesn’t, then I think there will be a conversation with the league office and the union on potential league action.”
The safety market has been an odd one. For most of the first week, we were not hearing much of anything. The Arizona Cardinals released Tyrann Mathieu, and he ended up the first safety signing, inking a deal with the Houston Texans. That has since been followed by former Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Nobody else has signed, and the market has been rather flat. Mathieu had this to say about how teams seem to be approaching the safety position.
No not at all. Teams think they can replace safeties because of the "systems" they run. Teams want pass rushers and Top Flight corners. The Safety position is becoming a devalued position. So safeties have to literally play lights out , to even be valued. https://t.co/Si4uiLwLPj— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) March 20, 2018
Given the state of the market, I’m not entirely surprised Reid has not been signed. However, the fact that we haven’t even heard a rumor connecting him to a potentially interested party takes this a step too far in my mind. NFL free agency officially opened last Wednesday, but the negotiation period opened a week ago Monday, and teams have been speaking with agents as far back as the NFL Combine.
Some players who have protested have found new teams, or at least interest in the market. However, Reid was particularly outspoken, particularly amidst some splintering within the players. I have little doubt this is impacting his market. That coupled with a mostly flat safety market in free agency does not bode well for him landing a new job anytime soon.
I was not surprised Colin Kaepernick did not land a job after free agency opened last year, and I would not be at all surprised to see Reid not land a job this year. It’s “only been a week,” but the league is happy to send a message on this, while attempting to look like the good guy where possible.