Las Vegas Raiders: Eric Reid is an ideal late free agency target

Las Vegas Raiders (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Las Vegas Raiders (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

The Las Vegas Raiders have already made a splash in free agency. However, there is one ideal player left on the market — safety Eric Reid.

The Las Vegas Raiders began the offseason with just over $50 million in available salary-cap space. After a complete overhaul of several position groups, the team has committed to a whopping $75 million in contracts over the next few seasons

The team has done a good job of addressing needs on their defensive line and linebacker corps.  They also have the benefit of two first-round draft picks to solve issues at wide receiver and cornerback while adding to their overall depth.

While the team has already made a major splash, the franchise still has over $8.1 million in available cap space. This means the Raiders could take advantage of a slowed market to add additional talent to their roster.

One player in particular seems like an excellent fit — safety Eric Reid. Here’s why Las Vegas should reach out to his agent as soon as possible.

The Talent

The former first-round pick burst on to the scene during his rookie season in San Francisco. He started all 16 games in 2013 and earned Pro Bowl honors. This helped establish Reid as a legitimate NFL talent with considerable upside.

While he has not returned to the Pro Bowl ranks since his inaugural season, the former 49ers safety has been a consistent player for the past seven years.

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He has started every game he has appeared in since his debut and has 404 solo tackles, 11 interceptions, and five forced fumbles on his career resume.

Most recently, Reid was an important member of the Carolina Panthers’ secondary. He started all 16 games with the team last season and recorded a career-high 97 tackles. Despite his proficient play, the veteran was a casualty of a team rebuild.

Don’t let the fact that Reid is available in free agency fool you. He is still only 28-years-old and is capable of being a starter in most NFL secondaries.

The Price Tag

The longtime safety has made over $25 million in his NFL career. While he is a solid football player, it does seem as though teams are lining up to secure his services in 2020.

PFF ranked Reid as the 16th best player left on the market. However, his reputation for kneeling during the national anthem may still be held over his head by some would-be employers.

This should lead to a relatively low price tag.

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The average salary for a player at his position is $5 million. It is a virtual certainty that Reid could be acquired for well below this mark, especially if he is offered a multi-year contract. I would start with an offer of a two-year deal in the range of $2-$3 million per season.

The Fit

The Raiders acquired former Browns defensive back Damarious Randall and former Cowboys safety Jeff Heath to man their safety positions. While both are solid football players, neither has demonstrated the talent to excite fans.

Both players have been starting-caliber safeties since 2017 and both have accumulated over 150 total solo tackles over that span. However, either have the pedigree of Eric Reid.

If the Raiders elected to add Reid to the roster, he would likely emerge as the favorite to take over as the everyday free safety. Not only would he upgrade the starting unit, but he would also allow either Randall or Heath to provide valuable depth as a third safety.

Or in Randall’s case, he might be able to play some cornerback as well.

The Conclusion

Reid admittedly comes with a bit of baggage and concerns. However, he should not be overlooked as a valuable player with a dangerous skill set.

Assuming the Raiders use at least one of their first-round picks to add a receiver to their offense, the secondary will be the biggest weakness on Vegas’ roster.

If his services can be secured at a reasonable rate, why not add a veteran player who has a reputation for consistency, who plays a position of need?

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Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock should seriously consider adding Reid before he lands on another roster.