Former Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry remains a free agent, but are the Cleveland Browns still a fit to add his services?
When the Kansas City Chiefs released safety Eric Berry in March, it seemed like he was destined to land with the Cleveland Browns. With the Browns needing a starting safety and general manager John Dorsey being familiar with Berry, it made a lot of sense that the two sides could be a match.
However, once Berry hit free agency, he did not seem to generate much interest around the league. Whether it be his age or injury history, Berry was not as highly sought after as initially expected.
The lack of interest has continued into July, as Berry remains a free agent. With most teams already addressing their needs, it will be even harder for Berry to find a landing spot. Berry’s best shot is for injuries during training camp and preseason to give him more opportunities.
More from Dawg Pound Daily
- How the Browns could maximize Nick Chubb in 2023
- Can Deshaun Watson get to Patrick Mahomes level for Cleveland Browns?
- 3 Cleveland Browns who should see an expanded role in 2023 and 1 who should not
- Is Marcus Davenport on the Browns radar in 2023?
- 5 Free agents from Super Bowl LVII Cleveland Browns should target
But with training camp right around the corner, NFL.com’s Gil Brandt looked at the best landing spots for the top remaining free agents, including Berry. And Brandt thinks the Browns are the best fit for the 30-year-old.
"Dorsey, meanwhile, ended up leaving Kansas City and taking on the Browns’ rebuilding efforts. The 30-year-old Berry, who was released by the Chiefs this offseason, would bring leadership skills and savvy to a safety unit that currently includes just two other veterans (Damarious Randall and Morgan Burnett). The big question is whether the three-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler will be able to stay healthy for an entire season. – Brandt, NFL.com"
Berry has played in only four games the past two seasons, which could be why teams are cautious of adding the safety. With Berry’s Achilles and heel injuries lingering the last two years, it is fair for teams to be concerned about Berry’s health.
But if Berry is healthy and he can show glimpses of what he was able to do in 2016, then teams should be willing to take a chance on Berry. Berry played all 16 games in 2016 and made 77 total tackles, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble, four interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), and nine passes defensed. However, after missing almost two full seasons, Berry may never get back to performing like that.
However, even if he does show glimpses of his 2016-self, he is no longer as good of a fit for the Browns. Since the beginning of the offseason, the Browns have largely rebuilt the safety position, adding Morgan Burnett, Eric Murray, and Sheldrick Redwine to the group. Burnett is currently expected to be the starting strong safety. For the Browns, it will be hard to fit another safety in the fold.
A case could be made that Berry could be used as a rotational player, but the Browns may not have the roster spots to use Berry in that type of role. With Jermaine Whitehead emerging as a potential starter as the nitro linebacker, the Browns already have five safeties expected to make the final roster. Berry has shown the talent that would make it easy to make room for him on any roster. But after two years of injuries, he may not be that caliber of player anymore.
Berry used to be a player that teams would do whatever they could to sign him if he became available, but that is not the case anymore. The Browns may have had a need at safety this offseason, but unless the unit deals with injuries before the season, it is hard to picture the Browns as a fit for Berry at this point.