In a week that has included a flurry of moves, the Kansas City Chiefs are making another franchise-altering decision with the release of Eric Berry.
The Chiefs announced Wednesday afternoon that they have released the five-time Pro Bowl safety.
The release is with a post-June 1 designation, according to reports, which means the Chiefs will save more than $9 million on the cap this year and $5.5 million this year.
“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,” Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in a release. “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.”
Berry has played in just four games since the start of the 2017 season, when he tore his achilles in the season opener in New England. He returned in Week 15 of the 2018 season in a loss to the Chargers and played the following week in Seattle. He sat out Week 17 and the AFC Divisional Round, but returned in the AFC Championship against New England. The Chiefs lost all three games he played in last season.
Berry dealt with a Haglund’s deformity following Achilles surgery, causing discomfort and an ongoing question of when he would return in 2018. He missed more than 100 days after being sidelined midway through training camp.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said at the NFL Scouting Combine that Berry wouldn’t undergo surgery.
“We continually evaluate every aspect of our football team and we came to the decision that it was in our best interest to release Eric,” Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said. “Knowing what Eric has meant to this organization and this city made this an incredibly difficult decision. We wish him nothing but the best.”
The fifth overall pick in the 2010 draft out of Tennessee, Berry played in 89 games over nine season. Following the 2015 season, he was honored with the AP’s Comeback Player of the Year Award after overcoming Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was voted the team’s most valuable player in 2015 and 2016.
“I’d like to thank Eric for his contributions to our team and the Kansas City community over the last nine years,” Reid said. “Seeing his passion and watching his love for the game has been truly remarkable. He’s a special person, and we wish him the best as his career moves forward.”
The 30-year-old signed a six-year, $78 million deal prior to the 2017 season.
The move continues a defensive rebuild under defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. The Chiefs also released linebacker Justin Houston, traded linebacker Dee Ford and signed safety Tyrann Mathieu, all since Sunday.