If you've been following NFL free agency over the past month, you may have noticed that there hasn't been a lot to follow.
Although free agency got off to a hot start in March, things slowly died down as teams started to spend nearly all of their focus on the NFL Draft. With the draft now behind us, don't be surprised if the next wave of free agency gets started in the next few days.
There are several big named players still available and one of those is former Chiefs safety Eric Berry. (Note: The next wave of free agency will likely jump into high gear on May 7, because any free agent signed after that date won't count against the league's compensatory pick formula. However, that doesn't apply to Berry).
Since being NFL teams, the biggest issue with Berry is his health. When Berry has been on the field, he's been one of the best safeties in the NFL, but the problem is that he hasn't been on the field very often over the past two years. After signing a six-year, $78 million deal in 2017, Berry played in just three out of 32 regular season games for the Chiefs., Berry has made several visits, but he still hasn't found a team to play for. For
If Berry can stay healthy, then the team that signs him will potentially be getting a steal. So which teams might be willing to take that risk?
Let's take a look at five potential landing spots.
Yes, the Redskins biggest Landon Collins), but that doesn't mean they shouldn't take a close look at adding Berry. For one, the Redskins went into the offseason with nearly zero depth at the position after releasing D.J. Swearinger in December and letting Ha Ha Clinton-Dix walk . Swearinger started 15 games at safety and Clinton-Dix started nine games after a midseason .was a safety (
Basically, that's two holes and Collins is only going to be able to fill one of them. The Redskins could have added a safety through the draft, but that didn't happen. Due to his injury history, Berry won't be able to demand the kind of contract that Collins received, so if the Redskins can get him at a reasonable rate, it's a move they should definitely make.
The 49ers had a need at safety going into the 2019 NFL Draft, but they definitely didn't do anything to fill it. With their eight picks, the 49ers selected a punter, a tight end and two wide receivers among others, but exactly zero safeties. The thing about Berry is that he would arguably be an instant upgrade at the safety position in San Francisco, which is why the 49ers should reach out.
The reason why a Berry signing could actually happen is because John Lynch seems to be on the hunt for a way to beef up his secondary. During a post-draft interview on April 27, Lynch said he didn't draft a safety because he simply couldn't find a player who was better than what the 49ers already had.
"It's not the easiest to go find a safety who can beat out [DB] Jimmie Ward or [S Jaquiski] Tartt or the two guys that we drafted in the last two years with [S] Marcell [Harris], [DB Adrian] Colbert and [DB Antone] Exum [Jr.], who stepped in and did a good job for us, who's played on other NFL teams, too," Lynch said. "That's not an easy thing to do. If there's guys there, who you think is better than the guys you have and that makes more sense than another position, then it's an easy decision."
If Berry meets with the 49ers and Lynch feels that he's better than anything the 49ers have, it wouldn't be surprising to see San Francisco make this move.
Also, the 49ers might actually be the one team that's not scared off by Berry's recent history of injuries and that's because Richard Sherman -- who was in 2017 -- and Sherman ended up starting 14 games for them.on a player coming off a serious injury and that seemed to work out for them. During the 2018 offseason, the 49ers signed
Although the Colts re-signed safety Clayton Geathers this offseason, his contract seems to indicate that the team doesn't have a lot of confidence in him. After spending the first four years of his career with the Colts and starting 12 games in 2018, Geathers was rewarded with a one-year contract that included just $1.25 million in guaranteed money. One other move that seems to indicate that the Colts might not have a lot of confidence in Geathers is the fact that they drafted two safeties this year (Fourth rounder Khari Willis and fifth rounder Marvell Tell III).
Basically, the Colts have definitely made it known that they're not committed to Geathers, which is why bringing in Berry would make sense. The Colts could easily afford Berry and that's because they currently have the most salary cap space in the NFL (Roughly $60 million). There would really be no downside for the Colts if they were to give Berry a one-year deal. If he's healthy and he plays well, then the Colts got a steal. If he struggles with injuries, then he can help mentor the two young safeties who were just drafted. Also, the Colts signed Justin Houston this offseason, meaning Berry would with one of his former Kansas City teammates.
The Browns' depth at safety took a major hit this offseason when they shipped Jabrill Peppers off to New York as part of the trade that brought Odell Beckham to Cleveland. Although it was an easy trade for the Browns to make, it did leave them with a slight hole in their secondary and that's because Peppers started all 16 games for Cleveland last season.
If the Browns want to patch that hole quickly, then it would make sense to give Berry a call for the second time this offseason. That's right, Berry and the Browns have actually already spoken, and that conversation came in late March. As a matter of fact, Browns general manager John Dorsey admitted at the NFL annual meeting that he had spoken to two potential safeties in Berry and Tre Boston.
"I think they're both really good football players and we have had discussions with their representatives and that's where we are right now with that," Dorsey said.
Although the Browns have added several safeties -- they Morgan Burnett), they (Eric Murray) and they drafted one in the fourth round this year (Sheldrick Redwine) -- Cleveland really shouldn't feel comfortable going into the season with any of those guys as their potential starter. The Browns shouldn't break the bank for Berry, but if they can get him on a modest prove-it deal, then it's a move they should think about making.(
After George Iloka to a one-year, $1.02 million deal that included just $300,000 in guaranteed money. That kind of money doesn't exactly scream, "This guy is definitely going to start for us," which is why Berry should still be viewed as an option for the Cowboys. For one, there's no guarantee that Iloka will be any good in Dallas. Over the past two seasons, the safety has been let go by two teams that are very familiar with him (the Bengals and Vikings). Iloka was released by Cincinnati just before the 2018 season, despite the fact that he started all 16 games in 2017. The safety then latched on with Minnesota to play for Mike Zimmer, who was the Bengals defensive coordinator when Iloka was drafted in 2012. Zimmer and the Vikings then let him walk after just one season. If he couldn't last with two coaching staffs that knew his skillset well, there's absolutely no guarantee that he's going to last in Dallas., the Cowboys ended up and signing
Although the Cowboys added a safety in the draft (Donovan Wilson), that pick didn't come until the sixth round. Basically, you could still consider the safety spot a position of need in Dallas, which means adding Berry wouldn't be completely crazy.