The 26-year-old safety, a former first-round pick in the NFL Draft, had played for the 49ers from 2013-17.
Reid has signed with the Panthers and Stills says he spoke to Kaepernick on the phone Thursday. All declined to comment on whether the Panthers' signing of Reid, who reportedly plans to move forward with his grievance against the league, signaled a shift in thinking that could lead to Kaepernick returning to the game.
Panthers general manager Marty Hurney told The Associated Press it was a "football decision" that was approved by new owner David Tepper. It took safety Da'Norris Searcy being placed on injured reserve for the Panthers to give him a try. And, he argues in a grievance filed in May, that the owners colluded to keep him and ex-teammate Colin Kaerpnick out of the league over his activism. Although it wasn't shocking that he went unsigned at the outset of free agency (teams rarely pursue safeties early in the process), eyebrows were raised as he remained on the sidelines throughout training camp and the first three weeks of the season.
Reid is now involved in a lawsuit against the NFL. I felt furious, hurt and hopeless. "But I don't know". Shortly after that, National Football League reporter Jim Trotter revealed the San Francisco 49ers made a strong run to bring back Reid earlier this week prior to his decision to join the Panthers. I think he's a good player. "I'm not sure why a team hasn't signed him yet".
The NFL Players Association also congratulated Reid, with its president, Eric Winston, saying, "Our union is proud to stand by one of its strongest player leaders and we congratulate Eric for making it back to dong the job he loves".
Financial terms of Reid's one-year contract with the franchise were not immediately available.
In Carolina, Reid joins a defense that has uncharacteristically struggled this season; the unit, regularly among the league's best, now ranks 23rd overall, via Football Outsiders' metrics, and is 20th in pass defense.
The Panthers are now on bye and will next play against the New York Giants at Bank of America Stadium at 1p next Sunday.