The Kansas City Chiefs announced the release of longtime safety Eric Berry on Wednesday, shortly after the new league year opened at 4 p.m. ET. According to Pro Football Talk, the release comes with a post-June 1 designation, which means the Chiefs will save $9.55 million of Berry's $16.5 million cap figure in 2019, pushing an additional $8 million of dead money into 2020. Without that designation, Kansas City would have absorbed all of the $14.95 million in dead money in 2019.
Berry, 30, signed a record-setting six-year, $78 million extension for a safety in February of 2017, but he has played in just two regular-season games since then. He tore his Achilles in the 2017 season opener and then missed all but two games last season while battling lingering heel pain. Drafted fifth overall in 2010, Berry has spent nine seasons with the Chiefs, earning five Pro Bowl nods and three first-team All-Pro selections. His 2014 season was ended prematurely after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, but he beat the disease and returned in 2015 to author back-to-back All-Pro seasons.
"On behalf of my family and the entire Chiefs organization, I want to thank Eric for his many contributions to the Chiefs over the last nine seasons," team chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said. "Eric has been a tremendous leader for our football team and an inspiration to so many fans over the years, and we sincerely appreciate all that he has meant to the Chiefs. He will always be an important part of our Chiefs family, and we wish him nothing but the best in the future." Kansas City has reportedly agreed to sign former Houston Texans safety Tyrann Mathieu to a three-year, $42 million deal in free agency, a deal which could be announced later Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the team is also bringing in cornerback Ronald Darby for a visit, according to multiple reports. Darby, 25, is considered perhaps the top corner on the free agent market, although he is coming off of a torn ACL. He played in nine games for the Philadelphia Eagles last season, intercepting one pass and breaking up 12.
Acquired by Philadelphia from the Buffalo Bills for a third-round pick and wideout Jordan Matthews before the 2017 season, Darby also missed eight games to injury that year because of a dislocated ankle. Former Chiefs cornerback Steven Nelson, who started all 16 games in 2018, is reportedly leaving to join the Pittsburgh Steelers. Orlando Scandrick, who started seven games at corner for Kansas City, is also a free agent.
(With inputs from agencies.)