It’s been an up-and-down season for 49ers strong safety Eric Reid.
Reid looked like a perfect fit for the Niners’ new defensive scheme, a big, strong safety with prime run-stopping responsibilities playing closer to the line of scrimmage. But he’s missed three games with injuries and has been part of the overall inconsistency in the secondary.
Yet on Sunday against the Seahawks in a 24-13 San Francisco loss, Reid – in the final year of his contract – had a strong game, intercepting Russell Wilson early while getting seven solo tackles. It was his second straight game with seven or more tackles. With injuries this season to Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt, Reid has had to step up his game to help fill the experience gaps.
In eight games for the 1-10 49ers, Reid has two interceptions, three passes defensed and 39 tackles.
The analytic website Pro Football Focus gave Reid the 49ers’ top overall grade in Sunday’s game.
“Reid opened up his day by intercepting Russell Wilson’s pass on the first play from scrimmage,” wrote PFF. “Although he had a bad penalty and did not grade great in run defense, his coverage was outstanding. On 40 plays in coverage, he was targeted five times, allowing two receptions for only 15 yards. He finished with a coverage grade of 92.5.”
Reid can become an unrestricted free agent after this season when his rookie contract expires. This year, he’s making approximately $5.7 million, and it’s uncertain if the 49ers will bring him back. Earlier this season, Reid even was being used as a linebacker in pass coverage, indicating the coaching staff was trying to find a place for him to fit into the scheme in the short term, with other players – Adrian Colbert, Tartt and Ward – perhaps more in the team’s long-term plans.
The 49ers return to action this Sunday in Chicago against the Bears. Kickoff is set for 10 a.m. in the Bay Area.