"I am not afraid of [my career being over]," Eric Reidtold NOLA.com at the end of last season. "But I understand that it's a possibility." Slowly, that possibility seems to be creeping towards probability.
Free agency is technically less than two days old, and Reid is far from the only safety still looking for work. Former Saints first-round pick Kenny Vaccaro is still out there, one-time All-Pro Tyrann Mathieu was cut by the Cardinals, and the Seahawks shopping Earl Thomas certainly throws a wrench in the whole market. That said, the silence surrounding Reid—a 26-year-old who has been to a Pro Bowl and who showed his flexibility by moving to linebacker when the 49ers needed it last season—has been notable, and that was before he tweeted Thursday.
"The notion that I can be a great signing for your team for cheap, not because of my skill set but because I’ve protested systemic oppression, is ludicrous," he tweeted. Then Reid added (in response to another tweet), "GMs aren’t the hold up broski. It’s ownership." Reid was the first player to join Colin Kaepernick's protest, kneeling next to the QB in September 2016. With Kaepernick out of the league last year, Reid became one of the movement's faces in 2017, most notably writing an op-ed in The New York Times explaining the pair's actions. Kaepernick was also active on social media yesterday, retweeting video of himself throwing footballs in Houston as part of an article that reminded everyone the QB has been working out "every single day since January 2017." Other players who protested remain on rosters (the Eagles even traded for Michael Bennett), but as the likes of Tom Savagesign on for backup jobs, Kaepernick seems no closer to returning to the league—and his former teammate is now one of the most noteworthy free agents remaining. Here are a few other names to watch as we head into the weekend:
• RB Adrian Peterson: The soon-to-be 33-year-old has made his interest in joining the Texans public, but the feelings may not be mutual.
• WR Terrelle Pryor: A return to Cleveland is still possible, even after the Browns acquired Jarvis Landry, but Pryor is also rumored to be a target for a pair of NFC West teams: the Seahawks and Rams.
• TE Eric Ebron: Cut by the Lions after four disappointing years, the former No. 10 overall pick is still only 24.
• OL Justin Pugh: The best blocker available was expected to meet with the Cardinals on Thursday.
• DL Ndamukong Suh: The former Dolphin reportedly has visits lined up with the Saints and Titans.
• DL Sheldon Richardson: He visited Minnesota on Thursday, but remains unsigned. (UPDATE: Richardson signed a one-year deal with the Vikings.)
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1. Joe Thomas kept his decision quiet so as not to negatively affect the Browns in free agency, but on Wednesday, the future Hall of Fame left tackle announced he was retiring. After 11 years in Cleveland, Thomas could still be around this fall, only in an announcer's chair.
2. Saints (and Pelicans) owner Tom Bensondied Thursday at 90. A New Orleans-born businessman, Benson bought the Saints in 1985 to keep them in town and helped them capture the team's first Super Bowl in 2009. Benson's wife, Gayle, is expected to take over control of both pro teams.
3. Jon Gruden's Raiders have made some big personnel moves, adding 29-year-old running back Doug Martin and signing 32-year-old wideout Jordy Nelson while releasing 30-year-old Michael Crabtree. Late Thursday, Oakland added linebacker Tahir Whitehead. The other team seemingly in the middle of half of the significant veteran movement at this point plays in Miami, as the Dolphins released center Mike Pouncey. They replaced him via a trade with the 49ers for Daniel Kilgore, while also signing guard Josh Sitton. As The Miami Herald beat writers put it, "The Dolphins believe they improved Thursday, even if yet another starter walks out the door."
4. The Seahawks and Cowboys reportedly chatted about a potential Earl Thomas trade, with Seattle asking for a first-rounder (other teams are in the hunt for the safety as well). Meanwhile, Tim Cowlishaw called out the Dallas front office for being—wait for it—too safe.
5. New Texans GM Brian Gaine has bolstered Houston's offensive line and secondary so far in free agency. Aaron Wilson tells the story of how Gaine got here, featuring one critical cold call to the Jets.
6. "I just started my foundation, and I plan on helping a lot of people. I heard Denzel Washington say one time that it's not about the amount of money you have, it's about what you do with the money you have."
—Buccaneers wideout Mike Evansafter signing an $82 million extension
7. An update on two ongoing Patriots mysteries:
A) Asked about his Super Benching, new Titan Malcolm Butlersaid: "I feel like this was the reason: I got kind of sick. I went to the hospital. They probably thought I was kind of late on the game plan; I wasn’t as locked in as I should be and could have been a matchup deal. It could have been anything. But Bill Belichick has been doing this for a very long time. He took a veteran out of Super Bowl XLIX and put in a first-year rookie, and that turned out right, so you could never question his decision."
B) New England fans are reading way into Rob Gronkowski's recent "Be FREE, Be HAPPY" goodbye to Miami-bound Danny Amendola. Is he saying he doesn't feel free as a Patriot? Will he return for another season? Good luck figuring that out right now.
8. Ryan Grant reportedly failed his physical with the Ravens and, as Michael David Smith explained, the NFL's free agency timeline now leaves them both in a worse spot.
9. The Julius Peppers era in Carolina continues as the 38-year-old agreed to another contract with the Panthers. "Aren't we lucky?" Jourdan Rodrigue writes.
10. During a radio appearance, ESPN's Sean McDonoughsaid broadcasting Monday Night Football "wasn't a tremendous amount of fun" and claimed "we got one of the worst NFL games each week."
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July 3rd, Joe Thomas Day. Then the career Brown gets to celebrate Independence.
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