Why the Steelers need to target Eric Berry in free agency
The Pittsburgh Steelers have lost two major players on offense this offseason, but they have remained active by adding pieces on the defensive side of the ball. While replacing wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell might be impossible, they have to address needs elsewhere for now. One key free agent that could turn this offseason around for Pittsburgh is signing free agent safety Eric Berry.
The Kansas City Chiefs made a surprising move by releasing Berry after many successful seasons as well as several injury plagued campaigns. Berry overcame Hodgkins lymphoma a few years ago and won his battle with cancer, returned in 2015 to put on a stellar performance, and won Comeback Player of the Year for that season. Unfortunately, he has suffered several injuries that have kept him off the field the past couple seasons.
The Chiefs may have released Berry, but his drive to compete still remains in tact and several teams are rumored to be very interested in him.
Pittsburgh has had troubles for many years now with finding a solid group of secondary players. While cornerback Joe Haden and safety Sean Davis provide solid playing ability, they still need help at the safety position.
Berry could be called upon to join his former teammate cornerback Steve Nelson, who signed with Pittsburgh a couple weeks ago. Nelson and Berry were two of the Chiefs best players on defense and a reunion with the Steelers could be huge for the team.
While Berry might be struggling to stay healthy recently, his skill set is amongst the best at his position when he is on the field. Berry’s playmaking ability was once considered the best at his position, but the adversity he has been faced with forced him to lose a step along the way.
The Steelers have a well-run system with their front seven and have remained one of the top run defenses the past few seasons, but their pass defense is a different story. Pittsburgh is prone to big plays against them in the secondary and unfortunately drafting players to help the franchise on that front has not panned out so far. Cornerback Artie Burns has proven to be a bust, safety Morgan Burnett will likely either be traded or released, and the team seems to be finding exactly where Terrell Edmunds will fit into the defense.
Berry provides a veteran presence as well as playmaking and excellent coverage abilities, so it would be in the Steelers best interest to give Berry a call and try their best to reach a deal. Berry likely would not be signing for an outrageous amount considering his injury woes and the Steelers being one of the more conservative teams in terms of attacking the free agent market.
While the deal may be only speculation at this point in time, it makes a lot of sense for Berry and the Steelers to come to terms. Berry will likely be out for redemption and the Steelers need to do anything they can from this point forward to salvage the talented roster they have despite losing two Pro-Bowl players.