Eric Berry has been one of the top free agents left on the board since the Kansas City Chiefs released the 30-year old on Wednesday. It’s led to a lot of rumblings about future destinations, but nothing substantial at this time.
One of the reservations has been a growing list of injuries, including a torn ACL in 2011, a lymphoma diagnosis in 2014, a torn Achilles tendon in 2017 and a heel injury in 2018. He’s missed almost 4 whole seasons of play in his 9-year career.
ESPN’s Kevin Seifert listed him at No. 5 on its top free agents remaining list, stating that he currently has a “largely clean bill of health.”
Injuries have limited Berry throughout his career, most notably forcing him to miss 29 games over the past two seasons and slowing what once looked like a Hall of Fame career. But he has a largely clean bill of health and could still have some gas left in the tank.
That hasn’t stopped some teams from courting the 3-time Pro-Bowler and former first-rounder. Chris Simms of NBC Sports noted Cleveland as a potential landing spot.
“I wouldn’t be shocked if Cleveland got in that conversation,” he said on ProFootballTalk with Mike Florio. “I think Eric Berry though is going to be like in one of those 1-year ‘prove it’ deals…where people are going to go ‘can he stay healthy for a year.'”
Florio added right before the end to keep on eye on the Falcons.
Cleveland is in the market for a safety after trading former first-round pick Jabrill Peppers to New York in the Odell Beckham Jr. deal. In addition, Browns general manager John Dorsey was the former Chiefs GM when Berry played in Kansas City.
Josh Edwards of 247 Sports reported that he and the Browns are researching bringing Berry to Ohio.
“I have known Eric Berry for a long time,” Dorsey said. “I think he is a fine, fine person. Of course, we are going to do our research, and if we feel that he fits this organization, of course we will make some calls to his representatives.”
Steve Wyche of the NFL Network reiterated the Cleveland possibility.
“They traded away safety Jabrill Peppers, who they really liked. Let’s not forget that Eric Berry, a safety that John Dorsey had in Kansas City, is now available,” he said Thursday on “Free Agent Frenzy.” “Let’s keep an eye to see if Berry ends up in Cleveland. That could make this defense — if Berry is healthy — even more frightening than it could be the way they’re constructed now.”
Berry would join a burgeoning secondary led by Denzel Ward at corner, and would have Myles Garrett, Sheldon Richardson and Olivier Vernon harassing quarterbacks from the defensive front.
Other potential destinations include Dallas, who publicly sought the services of Earl Thomas before the former Seahawk safety signed with Baltimore.
Mike Fisher of 247 Sports reports that the Cowboys are evaluating Berry’s health to see if the investment would be worth it. Berry held a $16.5 million contract with the Chiefs last year, while the Cowboys currently have over $23 million in cap space.
Berry’s value is probably lower due to the health concerns, so Jerry Jones and company wouldn’t have to break the bank.
Another rumor came from Jennifer Lee Chan at NBC Sports Bay Area, who says Berry would be a welcome site for the 49ers’ No. 28 scoring defense from last season.
The 49ers need help in the secondary, and upon the new league year, the Chiefs released veteran safety Eric Berry. He could provide instant leadership and competition in San Francisco’s young secondary.
Plenty of options exist for Berry. Even if his health doesn’t 100 percent check out, he will likely find a place at a reduced rate.