Cowboys Linked to 5-Time Pro Bowl Safety Ahead of Free Agency

Eric Berry

Getty Eric Berry

At first, the Dallas Cowboys didn’t succeed. So they might try again.

Having met with Eric Berry last offseason, and having failed to strike a deal, the team is predicted to sign the once-superstar safety this offseason.

Bleacher Report, in its list of bold free-agent prognostications for each NFL organization, connected Berry to the Cowboys, citing previous familiarity and current positional need.

Via columnist Kristopher Knox:

With standouts Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper and Byron Jones scheduled to become free agents, the Cowboys may have little cap space left with which to upgrade their roster. Gambling on a player like safety Eric Berry, who didn’t play in 2019, could provide a bargain option.

According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Berry planned to sit out the 2019 season in order to be ready for 2020.

Berry met with Dallas last offseason but ultimately didn’t sign a contract. Now, we may know the reason why.

Dallas could still use a player like Berry on the back end of its defense. Prescott is priority No. 1, and Cooper might be right behind him, so there’s a strong possibility Jones won’t return. With Berry in the fold, Dallas might be able to make its secondary work without him.

As mentioned, Berry visited The Star in March 2019 but left without putting pen to paper. He also drew team-reported interest from the Cleveland Browns before opting to sit out the entire regular season, with an eye on returning in 2020.

Formerly considered one of, if not the best safety in the league, Berry has played just three games since 2016, hampered by a devastating Achilles’ tendon rupture which devolved into a heel issue known as Haglund’s deformity; Garafolo has described it as “a bone spur that basically digs into the Achilles.”

Berry — who was diagnosed with, and beat, Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014-15 — made two appearances for the Chiefs in 2018, notching 11 tackles. Inactive for Kansas City’s Divisional Round playoff win over the Colts that year, he started their AFC Championship loss to the Patriots.

He was released on March 13, 2019.

The No. 5 overall pick of the 2010 draft and a career-long Chief, Berry was an impact defender in his prime, totaling 445 tackles, 50 pass deflections, 14 interceptions, 5.5 sacks, and five defensive touchdowns across 89 games. Now, entering his age-31 campaign, it’s unclear how much he has left, both physically and psychologically.

The Cowboys, or any potential suitor, would need to put him through a medical gauntlet prior to opening the checkbook.

Assuming he’s cleared and Dallas gets him under contract, however, Berry could step into an immediate starting role. Incumbent Jeff Heath is headed to, and likely leaving via, unrestricted free agency, and owner Jerry Jones flat-out admitted last season that upgrading opposite Xavier Woods is a major priority. (The team attempted to trade for Jamal Adams last October, but talks died after the New York Jets demanded too much in return.)

The Cowboys own plenty of salary-cap space — a projected $77 million — though Berry may not require more than a highly-incentivized, prove-it deal.

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