The Chiefs should trade Eric Berry. There, let that sit for a moment. The NFL is a cold business, and sometimes the truth hurts, so let’s just get into it. There is no room for sentimental value here. Everyone is a commodity, and for the Chiefs, Berry is more valuable as a trade piece than the starting strong safety. Trading Berry would anger Chiefs fans, require some major adjustments to defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s schemes — and provide much-needed salary cap space and extra draft picks. The Chiefs are in a bind. The bill on last offseason’s improvement is now due, and the Chiefs have to find a way to pay up. Trading for quarterback Alex Smith means no second-round pick this year (they also gave up their 2013 second-rounder). Signing wide receiver Dwayne Bowe to an extension means they’re down to about $4.7 million in cap space (only four teams have less). The Chiefs have a lot of holes to fill, especially for an 11-win team, and a lack of cap space and second-rounder means their options are severely limited. Trading Berry would give them options. Let’s be clear. The Chiefs are not shopping Berry, and there is no indication they’ve been contacted about a trade. But the possibility is at least being kicked around in some football circles, and Chiefs GM John Dorsey would have to listen, if not actively pursue it. Berry is a brand-name in the NFL, a Pro Bowler in each of his three full seasons. He’s versatile, one of only four players last season with at least three sacks, three interceptions and 10 passes defended. His Pro Football Focus grade of 14.5 was tied for third-best among all safeties last season. But you have to give up something to get something. Berry is a good candidate, because his reputation has always been just a bit in front of his actual impact. His peers voted him one of the league’s 100 best players after his rookie year, and he made a Pro Bowl in 2012 despite a mostly mediocre season. Through conversations with NFL personnel men, Berry would likely bring back at least a second- and third-round pick — perhaps more. One scout thought a first-round pick would be possible. Those picks would help the Chiefs fill holes, including wide receiver, and there are some intriguing safety prospects in what is widely considered a very deep draft. Berry is still on the type of inflated rookie deal that the last CBA killed, carrying a cap number of $11.6 million in 2014 and $8.4 million in 2015 — meaning he’ll be a drain on the payroll a year from now, too. The money saved could be used for greater needs, like extending linebacker Justin Houston’s contract or having the flexibility to make trades or key free agent signings.
The time is right for the Chiefs to trade Eric Berry
Kansas City Star | Apr 13