Carolina Panthers

What will it take for the Panthers to re-sign Eric Reid? Two words, he says.

Market value.

That’s what Eric Reid said he wants when he signs his next contract — whether that’s with the Carolina Panthers or elsewhere.

As he prepares to sign his third pro contract, Reid said both sides have been in some sort of contact as the regular season comes to a close.

He called it “an initial meeting” where no contract was discussed, but it’s a start.

“There was a conversation between the team and my agent,” Reid said Thursday. “I think it was just limited pleasantries. I don’t think it was anything serious, my agent told me he’d update me as things progress. He hasn’t contacted me since then.”

Reid signed a one-year, $1.39 million contract with the Panthers this season after making nearly five times that amount during his final season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2017.

With an open collusion case against the NFL, Reid took a deal below market value for a Pro Bowl safety in order to get back onto the field in the right situation.

But he believes his body of work this season ensures that won’t be the case this time around, when he’ll be an unrestricted free agent.

“I think this has been the best year of my career, statistically,” Reid said Thursday. “If you extrapolate my stats, it’ll be the best tackling season I’ve had. I’ve been pleased with what I’ve been able to do here, minus that (Washington) game, giving up the touchdown to Vernon Davis.”

The sixth-year safety ranks fifth on the team in tackles despite missing its first three games of the season. His numbers over the course of a 16-game season would mark the second-most tackles of his career, trailing only his Pro Bowl rookie season.

He’s the 62nd-highest paid safety in the NFL per Spotrac. Safeties who have put up similar production to Reid this season make upwards of $3.8 million per year, excluding rookies.

Spotrac lists market value for Landon Collins — a three-time Pro Bowl safety for the New York Giants — at $9.3 million per year on average. Reid might not command that kind of money, but it sounds like he’ll give Carolina the first crack at signing him.

“I can see myself being here. I like this city, it reminds me of home,” he said. “It’s a lot slower than California, a lot less traffic.”

Reid became one of the most polarizing players in the NFL in 2016 when he joined then-teammate Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem. While outsiders have suggested the attention surrounding his protests and repeated random drug tests this season has contributed to the Panthers’ current seven-game losing streak, his teammates have been supportive.

Ryan Kalil mentioned Reid specifically while discussing the “right type” of veterans the team has brought in over the years and head coach Ron Rivera said last week he’d like to have Reid back next season.

Rivera doubled down on his wish Thursday, explaining exactly why he’d like to see Reid in a Panthers jersey in 2019.

“We always knew he was a solid football player and he’s showed it to us. Very headsy, very smart guy, understands the game,” Rivera said. “Takes tremendous care of himself, he’s a good teammate — he cares about his craft.

“As a person, he’s a solid guy. He’s very convicted, got a very strong belief. He supports the military, tremendously, for his obvious reason of his mother having served and his cousins. He’s civic-minded, I think he’s a guy who the more you get to know about him, the more personable he becomes for you.

“I think he’s an impressive young man.”

Marcel Louis-Jacques, 704-358-5015: @Marcel_LJ