If Terry does leave, and it is likely after the club told him "at this time" there is no offer of an extension on the table, only John Obi Mikel, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic will be left from the side which triumphed in the UEFA Champions League in 2012.
It is a baffling decision.
Terry played every minute of every match last season as Chelsea romped to the Premier League title.
His, and others' poor form cost Jose Mourinho his job earlier this season, but gradually Terry has returned to his domineering best, culminating in a sterling performance against Arsenal last weekend.
It is no coincidence that Chelsea's form and confidence has returned too, for their captain is their main man, even at the age of 35.
One of the many criticisms levelled at Chelsea this season has been a lack of leadership - their famous spine of Terry, Frank Lampard, Petr Cech and Didier Drogba drove the team on in previous times of trouble, but this time around only Terry has been treading water while his team mates floundered.
And so, even without a manager appointed for next season, Chelsea have jettisoned Terry. After their toughest season in recent memory. It just doesn't make sense.
This isn't a Steven Gerrard situation, or even a Lampard, Drogba, or Cech situation.
Terry is still the first name on the team sheet. He makes Kurt Zouma look good. He even makes Gary Cahill look good.
Terry is four appearances shy of 700 in Chelsea blue, and with four Premier Leagues, five FA Cups, three League Cups, one Community Shield, one UEFA Europa League and one UEFA Champions League to his name.
Of course there have been highs and lows for a player who has always been a pantomime villain, adored by his own, detested by the rest.
But it wouldn't be difficult to offer him another year, to see in another changing of the guard in the dugout before transitioning to a backroom role at the club he loves, much like Manchester United did with Ryan Giggs.
Is it too much to ask for Chelsea to respect Terry's achievements enough to let him go out on his own terms?
You would have thought Roman Abramovich would have learnt from the uproar he caused in 2013 when Lampard was told his time was up, only for the club to about face and offer him an extension.
And this is where Terry has been clever.
Chelsea released a statement saying that "at this time" there is no offer of an extension, but that things could change in the next few months, perhaps with the arrival of a new permanent manager.
These are words for the fans to cling to, and Terry, their "captain, leader, legend" knows it. They will sing his name as they did Mourinho's.
Abramovich has already upset Chelsea's fans by getting rid of the Special One - he surely won't want to make it a double.