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Bengals should sign Reid if price is right, but are you OK with his past?

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - The Bengals have been in the market this offseason for a safety so it isn't surprising that they are entertaining five-year veteran Eric Reid for a visit this week. Except Reid comes with a backstory that has led to every other NFL team avoiding him since free agency began on March 14, and that leads to the question: should they sign him if the price is right?

Reid was one of the first players to join then San Francisco 49ers teammate Colin Kaepernick when the quarterback began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest what they says they believe is racial injustice in this country.

He tried to explain his and Kaepernick's decision to kneel in a New York Times editorial last September.

Reid said on Twitter the day after free agency started that NFL owners have been using that as a reason not to sign him, and while the market to sign safeties this offseason has been very slow overall, he may be right.

After all, he was selected to the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2013 when he set career highs in interceptions (4), tackles (91, 73 of which were solo) and fumble recoveries (2). While his production has slipped a little since then, Reid still received a grade of 81.4 this past season from ProFootballFocus.com, which was tied for fourth among free agent safeties (only one of whom has signed at this point by the way).

But after the kneel-down movement quickly spread throughout the NFL it has been rife with controversy ever since.

It has been a very divisive issue, and there are many people and fans who aren't OK with it, some of whom have gone through with boycotting the league.

The Bengals have avoided the controversy to this point, because none of their players have taken a knee to protest.

Reid has said on March 21 that he won't kneel during the national anthem this coming season, telling ESPN.com: "We understand you have to change with the times."

Perhaps that is what opened the door for the Bengals to bring him in for for a visit and entertain the idea of signing him.

Perhaps they have liked him all along and simply been waiting for the market price to get more to their liking.

They entertained veteran Kurt Coleman just before free agency began after he was released by the Carolina Panthers, and he wound up signing a three-year, $18 million with the New Orleans Saints that the Bengals simply weren't going to exceed or match (and rightfully so).

They are definitely in the market for a safety to push both George Iloka and Shawn Williams and to provide depth if the Bengals opt for some three safeties looks they are considering using.

That brings us to Reid.

He is certainly a quality player.

There is potential controversy that must be considered, too.

I'm not telling you what to believe or how to react to Reid or players who kneel, just like I'm not telling them what to do is right or wrong.

It's freedom of choice both ways.

I do know this: he has said he isn't going to kneel anymore and he can help this football team at the right price.

That would be good enough for me if I was running hte Bengals.

As a Bengals fan though, are you OK with that?

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