The most immediate question regarding the return of safety Eric Reid to the NFL is whether the deal with the Panthers has any impact on his pending collusion case.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the contract with the Panthers does not impact Reid’s collusion grievance against the NFL. Specifically, Reid did not agree to dismiss or settle his collusion grievance as part of his contract in Carolina.
The ongoing unemployment of Reid was only making the collusion more conspicuous. And there’s one potential piece of evidence that could make the collusion even more conspicuous: If the Panthers cleared the move with the league office before making it, the mere effort to get the green light from the league before signing Reid would be evidence of an atmosphere of collusion. Absent an atmosphere of collusion, there would be no need to get the league’s nod of approval before signing Reid.
Green light or not, the Panthers did the right thing by looking past non-football matters and making a football decision. Earlier this week, Panthers receiver Torrey Smith lobbied publicly for the Panthers to consider Reid. To their credit, the Panthers did — with no assurances or promises that Reid won’t continue to pursue legal rights against the NFL, which necessarily includes the Panthers.