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.
The fifth overall pick of the 2010 NFL draft, Berry has been a first-team All-Pro three times and was selected to five Pro Bowls. He has, however, been hampered by injuries after a successful return from fighting Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Berry has played in just three games over the past two seasons. In 2018, he dealt with a heel injury called Haglund’s deformity. It occurs when a bone spur has contact with and causes pain in the Achilles tendon. He sat out most of the 2017 season due to a ruptured Achilles.
Outside of the injuries, the Chiefs will save over $15 million over the next two years by releasing Berry. He had signed a six-year, $78 million contract in 2017 after getting hit with the franchise tag in 2016.
The Chiefs also agreed to terms with Texans safety Tyrann Mathieu in a three-year, $42 million deal, which made moving forward without Berry inevitable.
Berry is not just valuable when he's on the field. He would be a strong presence in the 49ers' locker room, which is the type of player general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan look to add. Berry earned the Kansas City's Derrick Thomas Award in 2015 and 2016, given to the team’s most valuable player, voted on by his teammates.
Berry also might be willing to agree to a short-term "prove-it" deal as a result of his injuries.
The 49ers already have a few players who need to get healthy before seeing the field, but Berry, like cornerback Richard Sherman, could provide another coach and mentor for the young secondary while also providing competition to a group that includes Jaquiski Tartt, Adrian Colbert and Marcell Harris.
Berry played in 89 games in nine seasons with the Chiefs. His career numbers include 440 tackles of which 372 were solo, 5.5 sacks, 14 interceptions, 51 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.