Just like clockwork, the NFL free agency rumor mill is in full swing.
The latest rumor?
Apparently, current free agent safety Eric Berry could be headed to the Indianapolis Colts, according to numerous reports.
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) February 28, 2020
Before taking the 2019 off to recover from injuries, Berry had spent his entire career with Kansas City.
Berry’s services were sought for the 2019 season by a number of NFL teams.
However, the three-time All-Pro chose to sit out the season to focus on his mental and physical well-being.
Ties to Indy
Typically, NFL rumors are strictly that, just rumors.
However, in Berry’s case, this rumor makes sense.
For instance, Colts edge rusher Justin Houston and Berry used to play together on the Chiefs.
Barring unforeseen events, Houston will return to Indy for the 2020 season.
Reuniting Houston and Berry would go a long way to overhauling a defense ranked 17th in 2019.
Adding to the player connection, Berry would be reunited with a former Chiefs front office executive.
Colts General Manager Chris Ballard was a member of Kansas City’s management team during Berry’s time there.
Ballard’s position with Indy was one of the key reasons Houston chose to sign with the team.
Could this connection work a second time?
Upgrade at the Position
With Berry backstopping the Colts defense, the team would address a huge need.
As it stands, Clayton Geathers is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
Geathers ’19 stats were modest, including 41 solo tackles, one pass defended and one interception.
Most notably, his interception last season was the first of his five-year career.
Conversely, Berry has 14 interceptions in his nine-year career.
Also, when healthy and playing a full season, Berry averaged 66 solo tackles per season.
In other words, Berry’s presence at safety would be a significant upgrade to the position.
Paired alongside former first-round pick Malik Harrison, the Colts would have a potent one-two punch.
While his playing bona fides are undisputed, Berry does bring with him serious injury red flags.
In the first game of the 2011 season, Berry tore his ACL, causing him to miss the rest of the season.
2014 saw him sidelined again.
This time it was for five games due to a high ankle sprain and then for a more life-threatening issue.
In December of that year, Berry was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
He was then placed on the Chief’s non-injury football list and sat out the remainder of the year.
After being cleared to return, Berry played nearly every game in 2015 and 2016.
In 2017, he missed the last 15 games of the season to a ruptured Achilles heel.
Due to complications from that injury, Berry did not return to the field until Week 15 of 2018.
In March of last year, Berry was released from the Chiefs.
As mentioned, Berry took 2019 off to recover fully and eyed a 2020 return.
Even with his injury history, the Colts would gain a solid player and valuable leader if they sign Berry.
He is only 31 and, theoretically, has much more to offer.
Taking a gamble to bring in Berry just may be the jolt that turns Indy around defensively.