Safety Eric Reid visited with the Cincinnati Bengals Monday, but left without a contract offer.
Now the unrestricted free agent apparently would like to return to the 49ers.
Reid, a first-round pick of San Francisco in the 2013 draft, has played five seasons for the 49ers and started 69 of his 70 games. A Pro Bowler in his rookie season, Reid has been a big part of the team’s defense through the Harbaugh, Tomsula, Kelly and Shanahan eras. But in 2017 he was used all over the field when injuries ravaged the defense, playing both safety positions and even linebacker in passing situations.
This offseason, he’s had only one visit with a prospective new team, the Bengals, likely because NFL teams are shying away from him because he’s knelt during pregame national anthems to protest what he believes is the unfair treatment of African-American citizens by police.
In fact, during his visit with the Bengals Monday, it was reported that Bengals owner Mike Brown specifically asked if Reid plans to protest during the national anthem, with Brown saying “he intends to prohibit” such protests.
Mike Florio of NBC’s Pro Football Talk reported Reid took a physical in Cincinnati, met with coaches and did a film review before leaving without a contract offer.
Now, it’s being reported by Florio that Reid would like to stay with the 49ers and is willing to sign a one-year deal for the salary he had in 2017, about $5.7 million.
“Reid prefers a long-term home and he’d like to stay with the 49ers,” wrote Florio. “However, because he loves the community, the area and his teammates, he’d stay in San Francisco on a one-year deal, if it’s indeed at the same pay he received in the fifth and final year of his rookie contract.”
It’s uncertain, however, if 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan are interested in bringing Reid back for 2018.
Several NFL players have said they believe Reid — like former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick — is being shunned by the NFL for taking his political stance during the national anthem. Among the players saying Reid is being treated unfairly are former 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith, current 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman and NFL safeties Devin McCourty and Malcolm Jenkins.