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Eric Reid’s Incredible Versatility Means He Can Play Cornerback — Shouldn’t the Saints Give Him a Call?

With the news yesterday that the New Orleans Orleans Saints defense will now be without starting slot cornerback Patrick Robinson for at least the next 8 weeks with a broken ankle, the team is in desperate need of adding depth at the CB position.

And as bad as the injury to Robinson is, the Saints were already ranked dead last in several categories on pass defense thanks to the recent struggles at the CB position by young veterans Ken Crawley and PJ Willians.

So it's now become quite evident that they need more help and additional depth at CB if they hope to reach their goal of winning a Super Bowl for Drew Brees this year; and with the announced signing yesterday by the Green Bay Packers that they had signed the best available free agent CB on the "open market" (Breshaud Breeland), there's really only one player out there for New Orleans still who can make a big impact.

6th year NFL veteran safety Eric Reid still remains a free agent after his rookie contract expired with the San Francisco 49ers last year. There are a number of reasons why he's a free agent, but it has nothing to do with his production on the field. 

Photo courtesy of The San Francisco Chronicle

Nevertheless: Saints head coach Sean Payton loves players who are versatile; and Reid is as versatile as they come. The Prairieville, Louisiana native (in suburban Baton Rouge) can play strong safety, free safety, outside cornerback, inside / slot cornerback and even linebacker if called upon.

Reid can defend the run and pass with equally capability, and while he's not considered "elite" at doing either, he absolutely still remains more than reliable of doing everything well enough — which makes him valuable for any NFL team.

And especially since he doesn't turn age 27 until December.

Reid, a 26-year-old former unanimous 1st Team All-American at LSU, was selected with the 18th overall pick in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He was selected for the 2013 NFL All-Rookie team and played in the Pro Bowl in late January of 2014.

Last year in 2017 with San Francisco, Reid recorded 67 tackles, two interceptions and five passes defended. He reached the Pro Bowl in 2013 after posting 77 tackles, four interceptions and 11 passes defended. 

In his total of 5 NFL seasons played, Reid has started 69 of 70 career games, with 327 tackles and 10 interceptions, and has logged 13 starts at three different positions (free safety, strong safety and linebacker) with 67 tackles and two interceptions. 

Still also considered to be in the very "prime" of his NFL career, Reid possesses a rare combination of pure physical talent and on-the-field leadership skills, that most NFL coaches go crazy over.

Reid is still relatively young, he has been productive and perhaps most importantly of all: he has managed to stay injury-free, meaning that his NFL earning power should be at its peak. 

But yet — he still doesn't have a job.

And it's evident why that's so.

With the well-documented player protests during the national anthem that were intended to raise awareness about African-American victims of police brutality, Reid and his fellow former 49ers teammate QB Colin Kaepernick have enraged a large segment of many NFL fans by being "the faces" of the player protest issue.

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

As a direct result, NFL ratings dropped sharply; and a large portion of season ticket-holders within a handful of different NFL team fan-bases, pledged to stop attending games. Coaches and owners are caught in the proverbial "crossfire", wanting to support players and their cause but without further alienating parts of their fan base. 

It was only just 5 years ago, that Kaepernick quarterbacked the 49ers to the Super Bowl. But during the 2016 season a year and a half ago, he personally took pride and responsibility for launching the NFL protest movement.

But he received a lot of "push back" from angry fans that take the protests as unpatriotic or disrespectful, and eventually Kaepernick was completely "shut out" of the free-agent market the following year. He did not play a single down of Pro Football in 2017. 

Reid had joined Kaepernick on the sidelines during that 2016 season and protested on his own at times last year, but since becoming an unrestricted free agent himself this past March, Reid now appears to be facing the same fate as Kaepernick has: considered to be an NFL "pariah" (a term used to describe someone who's been made an outcast or despised by society)

Photo courtesy of The Associated Press

But with the Saints now facing their current issues at CB, shouldn't team brass be picking up the phone and giving Reid a call?

If their stated team goal is WINNING GAMES and getting to the Super Bowl as they say it is, then shouldn't Saints management reach out to a player with the blatantly obvious capability to help them? 

With regard to how Reid would "fit" with the team if they did in fact reach out to him, you'd have to believe that it wouldn't be that big of a deal within the Saints locker room, given how many Saints players already are very supportive of a variety of current social issues.

Cam Jordan, Ben Watson, and Demario Davis are among several players on the team's current roster who have openly supported the efforts of Kaepernick and Reid, as well as a few personal causes that they actively supported on their own and have even funded with money out of their own pocket.

Photo courtesy of Demario Davis on Instagram

So it goes without saying that Reid very likely would be welcomed by his new Saints teammates with open arms, were the organization to bring him aboard.

Simply put: the ONLY people that would have an issue with the Saints signing Eric Reid would be the same segment of Saints fans that remain "bent out of shape" over Reid's past actions which they consider unpatriotic or disrespectful.

Which is hysterical, considering that Reid has NEVER made any inference that he isn't loyal to our nation in spite of his support for the protests.

As it is: Reid comes from a family with their own history of devotion to the country and our nation's proud military.

Reid's mother was headed to serve in the Gulf War before she became pregnant with him. Her brother Kevin is a retired lieutenant colonel.  

And Reid's grandfather Orile Reid Sr., who served in the Army for three years during the Korean War, was fine with his grandson's decision to kneel during the anthem last season.

Bottom line: Saints fans that are still "mad" about Reid protesting during the National Anthem, CAN STAY mad. The Saints appear to have a great shot at winning a Super Bowl in these next few seasons, and Reid is a player who can HELP THEM GET THERE.

Photo Credit: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

The only remaining question at this point would be how much money would it cost to sign him? That’s the one part of negotiations that the Saints would have to determine.

But first, that would require them to make the initial move.

Regardless, we're talking about a former All-Pro defensive back still in the "prime" of his playing career that potentially can give you up to an entire decade of service.

Best of all: he has the ability needed to HELP you at several positions (strong safety, free safety, outside cornerback, inside / slot cornerback and yes, even linebacker) if you need him to.

Can there be any bigger "no brainer" for the Saints organization than this one???

Hey Saints: Eric Reid's incredible versatility means that he can play cornerback — shouldn't you guys give him a call?

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Saints News Network Editor / Featured Columnist Barry Hirstius is a 51-year old semi-retired journalist, former New Orleans-area sports editor, and columnist previously with several sites that exclusively cover the New Orleans Saints football team. Additionally, he is a recurring guest on a variety of local Sports Talk Radio programs. Barry is also a New Orleans native who grew up as a fan of the team while attending games as a young boy at the old Tulane Stadium in the early 1970’s, originally following and now covering the team for a span of over 40 plus years. And perhaps most importantly of all: he is the Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity.....

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