It sure looks like we could be in the beginning stages of long-term contract issues between Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Berry himself previously indicated that he would not play under the franchise tag in 2017. Meaning, if the Chiefs were to throw the tag on him in lieu of a long-term deal, he would hold out throughout the season (more on that here).
It’s a threat multiple players have made in the past. But it’s something the Chiefs themselves should probably take seriously here.
Despite this, the Chiefs seem optimistic.
"We have had very positive conversations with his representatives."
~ #Chiefs GM John Dorsey on Eric Berry's contract situation.
— BJ Kissel (@ChiefsReporter) February 9, 2017
Unfortunately, Berry’s camp doesn’t seem to share in that optimism.
“I wouldn’t characterize it as positive, but we are talking,” Berry’s agent, Chad Speck said, via NFL.com. “We’ve got a long ways to go.”
Berry, 28, played under the $10.8 million franchise tag this past season, recording 77 tackles, four interceptions and two touchdown en route to earning All Pro honors.
For Berry, it’s not as much about the annual value of his contract. It’s more about Kansas City showing a long-term commitment with more guaranteed money over a longer stretch.
He’s been among the top safeties in the NFL over the past several seasons, earning four trips to the Pro Bowl over the past five years. The only season in which he didn’t earn a Pro Bowl nod, Berry was sidelined for 10 games after being diagnosed with cancer.
Now completely healthy, Berry is set to become a free agent in March. There definitely remains a scenario in play where the Chiefs let him test the open market instead of giving the safety the franchise tag. If so, there will surely be a ton of suitors for his services. At this point, it’s not a foregone conclusion that Berry will return to the Chiefs.