The Chiefs elected to release Eric Berry on the first day of the new National Football League year. Berry is a five-time Pro Bowler but he played in just three games the last two seasons due to injuries.
By releasing Berry, the Chiefs don't have to pay him an additional $7.25 million that would have become guaranteed by Friday.
In Berry's next season, a trend of health-related problems started for the All-Pro safety.
Berry, 30, spent nine seasons in Kansas City after being drafted by the Chiefs with the fifth-overall pick in the 2010 draft. It also marks the end of an error following the release of linebackers Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali last season, and linebacker Justin Houston this season. "We wish him nothing but the best".
Mathieu effectively replaces Berry, whose contract still will count $6.95 million against the salary cap this year and $8 million next year as a designated post-June 1 cut.
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"We sincerely appreciate all that he has meant to the Chiefs, Hunt said".
The Chiefs are expected to move away from Sutton's 3-4 scheme in favor of a new 4-3 base system under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Chiefs coach Andy Reid described Berry as "a special person" and said that "seeing his passion and watching his love for the game has been truly remarkable".
Berry has played in 89 games in his career.
Following the 2015 season, Berry was named the AP Comeback Player of the Year Award and received the Ed Block Courage Award after overcoming Hodgkin's lymphoma. He has 440 career tackles (372 solo), 5.5 sacks, 14 interceptions (five touchdowns), 51 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.