Berry back, Charles gone as Chiefs make offseason moves

Chiefs offseason

MARCH 2017 – Eric Berry will be back, but Jamaal Charles will not be as the Kansas City Chiefs made a couple of significant moves entering March.

Berry agreed to a six-year $78 million contract making him the highest paid safety in NFL history.

“Keeping Eric Berry in a Chiefs uniform long-term has been a significant goal of ours,” Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said. “He’s a special football player and an incredible person. We’re thrilled we were able to get this deal done.”

Coach Andy Reid called Berry “one of the backbones of our defense and a team leader.”

The Chiefs put the franchise tag on Berry in 2016, something he did not want to repeat in 2017.

“He’s a special player and an exceptional human being,” Reid said.

But at the same time, the Chiefs released Charles, a four-time Pro Bowler, but who has played only eight games the past two years because of knee injuries.

While Charles is the Chiefs’ all-time rushing leader, cutting him saves the team $6.2 million against the salary cap.

“These decisions are never easy, but we felt it was in the best interests of the club to move on at this time,” Dorsey said.

After the disappointing postseason home loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, everyone knew the Chiefs have some major decisions and concerns to look at this off-season.

Dorsey will have to balance what to do with the unrestricted free agents, as well as prepare for the April draft.  After losing once again at Arrowhead during the playoffs, the Chiefs are left with the “what next” stage of making the team better for 2017 and beyond.

With Berry signed for long term, they may be able to keep Dontari Poe, who is an unrestricted free agent.

Poe will be pricy. With Chris Jones stepping up and others like Jaye Howard and Allen Bailey, we might be able to lose Poe without a huge drop off in production. Or the Chiefs could put the franchise tag on him.

Another order of business is the quarterback situation.  Looking at the four quarterbacks — Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodger — in the AFC and NFC title games, the Chiefs’ Alex Smith just isn’t in the same tier as them.  Backup Nick Foles won’t be back. Tony Romo is getting a lot of airplay or do we look to the future?  Cutting Smith would free up some money but not necessarily put us in a good position in 2017.  I never have been a raving fan of Smith, but there are worse options.  Do we dare draft one for the future?  I’d say yes, but this is reportedly a weak quarterback draft.

What about our running back scenario?  With Charles out of the picture, Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware are nice options, but haven’t been consistent enough to be a long-term options.  Ware started off great last year, but is not that ultimate RB you look for.  West was nice in 2015, but neither can replace Charles.

A lot of good running backs come from the draft.  They are fresh, quick and poised to make a run at a position that seems to have a shorter career span. I could see Dorsey making a pick for a running back in April.

The offensive line needs attention too.  Parker Ehinger may not return at full strength and we need to be prepared to shift personnel or look at other options.  Zach Fulton and Laurant Duvernay-Tardif, who the Chiefs signed to a contract extension, to could fill the gaps, but are average at best.  Our offensive line always seems to be a concern in the offseason. Dorsey along with Reid seem to find serviceable solutions that work.

The Chiefs ranked 21st overall in offense last year.

Dorsey has shown that he doesn’t mind drafting offensive linemen, I wouldn’t mind if he did again.

The bottom line is I don’t know what KC’s plan of attack will be for the drafts, free agents and trades. We all can try to put ourselves in Dorsey’s role and state what we think is best for the future of the Kansas City Chiefs.

I know this, we may not like some of the choices that are made, but KC may not have many options. While we may get four compensatory draft picks in 2017, we may have to look to release more players beyond Charles. With injuries to Derrick Johnson, Ehinger and Charles lingering, it makes Dorsey’s decisions even more challenging.  I wouldn’t want to be a GM for either the Chiefs or the Royals this year.

For more coverage of the Chiefs, visit: http://kcsportspaper.com/category/pro-teams/

Article by James Peuster.

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