49ers

Why 49ers should consider signing former Chiefs safety Eric Berry

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USATSI

Why 49ers should consider signing former Chiefs safety Eric Berry

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.

[RELATED: 49ers target Earl Thomas reportedly heading to Ravens]

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.

Josh Rosen calls uncertain Cardinals future before NFL draft 'annoying'

Josh Rosen calls uncertain Cardinals future before NFL draft 'annoying'

One year ago, Josh Rosen had to think he was the Arizona Cardinals' future. General manager Steve Keim traded up to draft the quarterback with the No. 10 overall pick, but a lot can change in one year. 

Now, with the 2019 NFL Draft one week away, Rosen's future is up in the air.

“I definitely understand the situation,” Rosen said in a talk with SI TV. “I mean, it’s annoying but, like, it is what it is. Football’s a business, and I definitely respect the higher-ups and their decisions."

Despite having Rosen on the team, the Cardinals and new coach Kliff Kingsbury are expected to take quarterback Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft. Plenty can change, however, and on Tuesday, Kingsbury said Rosen has been "phenomenal" this offseason.

The 22-year-old QB already has dealt with change and uncertainty plenty of times in his young football career. Since his freshman season at UCLA through his NFL rookie season, Rosen has played under five offensive coordinators in four years.

Rosen went 3-10 as the Cardinals' starter last season (two of those wins were over the 49ers), and he threw for 2,278 yards and 11 touchdowns with 14 interceptions. While those aren't great numbers, QBs who are first-round picks typically receive many more chances to prove themselves. Rosen, however, might not have that chance in Arizona, but he said he's not sweating it.

"I think the best advice I've ever gotten in life, from so many different people, is control what you can control," Rosen said. "And whatever decisions are made, it's my duty to prove them right if they keep me and prove them wrong if they ship me off."

[RELATED: Kyler football-over-baseball decision gives NFL what it needs]

If the Cardinals do ship off Rosen and draft Murray, they'd become perhaps the biggest storyline to watch in football. They'd also allow the 49ers to draft Nick Bosa with the No. 2 pick, setting a rookie pass rusher versus a rookie quarterback in the NFC West for years to come.

Joe Staley offered scouting report on Dee Ford before 49ers made trade

Joe Staley offered scouting report on Dee Ford before 49ers made trade

When the 49ers were shopping for an edge rusher during free agency, they sought the advice of veteran offensive lineman Joe Staley, who offered valuable information regarding Dee Ford

Staley faced off against Ford in Week 3 of the 2018 season when the 49ers traveled to Kansas City to face the Chiefs. He had first-hand knowledge of Ford's much-noted first step off the line.

“That’s what I love about this franchise,” Staley said. “The guys that we have here really reach out to the players about guys that are going against them, guys who have gone against certain players and ask for feedback. 

“I don’t know how much stock they take into to that but just the fact that they reach out to the players and ask their opinions on all that stuff.”  

When Staley was asked if Ford was truly explosive, he gave a very succinct reply. 

“That’s a correct statement,” Staley said. “He’s one of the most explosive players I’ve played against. He was definitely a challenge to go against last year and every time I’ve ever played him.”

Shortly after Ford was signed by the 49ers, he gave a similarly complementary statement about Staley and his physical ability. 

“He’s athletic and he’s strong and he has functional strength,” Ford said. “Functional strength is so important. Every offensive line is strong. They’re huge, they’re big, they’re strong. That’s a given. But he has functional strength, which is rare. He’s a pure athlete with a savvy skillset. So you’re not going to beat him a lot.”

Staley recalled one instance where he thought the Ford had taken advantage of a no-call by the referees. 

“It was a challenging game,” Staley said. "He got me early on with that sack, the first step, that quickness. I was like 100-percent certain that he was offsides, he was that fast. But going back in the film he just timed it up super right on it.

“It’s that first step, get-off. You see guys like Von (Miller) have it. Even bigger guys like DeMarcus Lawrence has that explosive first step. He’s a bigger pass rusher. That really sets up everything they can do and gets the tackles and the offensive linemen playing on their heels and reacting a little bit more than they want to.”  

It was a memorable game for Ford as well, which included banter between the two of them. 

“We talked during the whole game,” Ford said. “It was fun. It was fun. It was trash talk, but we were enjoying it. I really admire his game. And that was huge for me, because he admired my game. He’s a vet. He’s a future Hall of Famer, and it’s huge to hear that from a guy like that.”

Staley remarked that he can’t wait to pick Ford’s brain and go against him in practice every day. He thinks it will make each of them better players. 

[RELATED: Jimmy G wouldn't let down 49ers with eyes on him in rehab]

Staley is very pleased his scouting report on Ford was influential in bringing the star edge rusher to California. So much so that he may have a future in scouting.

Well, at least according to Staley himself.