Trading Eric Berry is not the way to go

In case you missed it, Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star made a strong argument recently that the Kansas City Chiefs should try to trade strong safety Eric Berry. Berry's contract consumes a sizable portion of the Chiefs' salary cap this year and next and it's Mellinger's opinion that the cap relief and draft picks the trade would bring have more value than Berry.

With quarterback Alex Smith and linebacker Justin Houston heading into the final season of their respective contracts, the Chiefs have some difficult decisions ahead. They'll have to part with one or more of their better players next season, much as they let tackle Branden Albert leave as a free agent this year.

But Berry shouldn't be one of them. Though as a strong safety he doesn't play a so-called premium position, Berry still finds a way to impact the game. He's a playmaker and the Chiefs need to do anything they can to hold on to this type of player. And another thing: Berry is just 25. He won't be 26 until late December, so his best years should be ahead of him. If the Chiefs trade Berry, they'll see him making plays for some other team for another six or eight seasons.

No, you don't dump players like Berry. You build around them. If the Chiefs need to find some salary-cap space next year, there will be other candidates. Dwayne Bowe immediately leaps to mind.

Berry is expensive now and he will be expensive to re-sign soon or at the end of his contract, which expires after two more seasons. But premium players come at a cost. That's the way this works. The Chiefs could always keep Berry around in 2016 as the franchise player if the sides can't agree on a deal for the longer term.

However it's done, the Chiefs need to keep Berry.