The Carolina Panthers parted ways with veteran safety Eric Reid on Wednesday, and the 28-year-old could end up being a sought-after target for teams in need of filling a hole in their secondary—like the Cleveland Browns.
Reid spent the last two seasons in Carolina and started all 16 games last year. He collected 130 total tackles and four sacks — both numbers career highs. Reid signed a $22 million, three-year extension with the Panthers last season. He previously spent five seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.
Reid confirmed the release on social media.
“It’s been a pleasure Carolina! I enjoyed my time and the support I received from the fans, media, teammates, and staff there will be remembered,” Reid wrote. “Looking forward to furthering my career in another city!”
Browns Have Major Need at Safety
The Browns have made some key moves already, most notably signing tight end Austin Hooper to a massive deal and bringing in offensive tackle Jack Conklin to bulk up the offensive line.
But there are still holes to fill on the defensive side of the ball, specifically at safety.
The Browns released veteran Morgan Burnett earlier this week. He totaled 41 tackles, two sacks, one interception and two passes defensed before suffering a season-ending Achilles injury in Cleveland’s Week 11 win over the Steelers. The Browns also let Juston Burris and Eric Murray go in free agency. Burris signed with the Panthers, while Murray went to the Texans on a solid three-year deal.
Damarious Randall is another Browns free agent that could sign elsewhere. He had a tough contract year in Cleveland, missing multiple games with injuries — including a concussion he voiced his disagreement with — and was mysteriously benched by former head coach Freddie Kitchens. The Seahawks, Raiders and Redskins were all teams mentioned by ESPN’s Josina Anderson as having interest in Randall.
That leaves second-year players Sheldrick Redwine and J.T. Hassell are the only safeties the Browns have locked up on the roster. A veteran presence like Reid, even on a short-term deal, could go a long way in mentoring either player.
Browns Eyeing Trade for Anthony Harris, But Price is High
The Browns have reportedly been exploring a deal for Vikings safety Anthony Harris, but the price-tag both for a trade and then compensation on a long-term deal might be too much.
The former undrafted free agent was tied for the NFL best with six interceptions last season. He added 60 tackles and 11 passes defended.
The Vikings reportedly want at least a third-round pick for Harris and it could take as high as a second, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. The Browns have a pair of third-round picks and No. 41 overall pick in the second round.
Other names the Browns could consider include Tony Jefferson, Vonn Bell or Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins could have been a fit, but appears to be heading back to the Saints. Tre Boston, another possible target, is staying in Carolina.