There was a time when Eric Berry was the most dominant safety and one of the best defensive players in the NFL, period, but here we are, in August 2019, and Berry remains without a team.
Of course, health problems and injury issues have derailed Berry’s career, as a bout with cancer in 2014 and numerous other serious injuries along the way have certainly made life in the NFL very difficult for the 30-year-old.
But that doesn’t change the fact that Berry could represent a late free-agent steal for someone with the regular season quickly approaching.
Here are four teams who should consider making Berry a last-minute signing.
4. Washington Redskins
Yes, the Redskins signed Landon Collins this offseason, which should certainly give their defense quite a lift, but the other safety spot alongside of Collins is still a bit shaky.
Is Montae Nicholson ready to handle that job full time?
Washington has very limited depth in its secondary, and while Berry definitely wouldn’t be guaranteed a starting job, he would provide a veteran presence who would, at the very least, be great for the locker room.
And hey? If he’s healthy? He could give the Redskins a lethal safety duo.
3. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys had been pursuing Earl Thomas for years, but Thomas ultimately signed a lucrative long-term deal with the Baltimore Ravens earlier this offseason, ending Dallas’ quest to acquire him.
At the moment, Xavier Woods and Jeff Heath are slated to be the Cowboys’ starting safeties in 2019, and while Woods was solid this past season, Heath struggled mightily.
It’s been a while since Dallas had a really good safety (probably since Darren Woodson), and while Berry obviously isn’t what he was a few years back, the low-risk, high-reward potential of adding him has to be tantalizing for Jerry Jones and Co.
2. Seattle Seahawks
Remember when the Seahawks had the best secondary in the NFL?
Those days are long gone, as the aforementioned Thomas just signed in Baltimore and Seattle also released Kam Chancellor after a failed physical earlier this offseason (not that Chancellor played in 2018, but still).
That means the Seahawks absolutely have a hole in their defensive backfield, and Berry could help patch it up.
Bradley McDougald and Tedric Thompson are currently the starting safeties for Seattle, but a healthy Berry should be able to beat out one of them for a starting job.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
We know that Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye can lock down receivers with the best of them, but when it comes to getting help over the top, the Jaguars are severely lacking.
Right now, unproven commodities Ronnie Harrison and Jarrod Wilson are Jacksonville’s starting safeties, meaning that it absolutely could not hurt to give Berry a shot.
The Jags have become known for their defense, but if their secondary is that squishy up the middle, they might run into some problems stopping teams, particularly teams with good tight ends.
Again, Eric Berry is no savior at this point, but there is a good chance he could be better than anything else the Jaguars have at safety.