Eric Berry has threatened to sit out the entire 2017 NFL season if he is slapped with the franchise tag for the second straight year. Apparently the Kansas City Chiefs believe him, because they’re reportedly working feverishly to wrap up a long-term deal with the safety before Wednesday’s franchise tag deadline.
Chiefs making strong push to wrap up deal with S Eric Berry by Wednesday's tag deadline, per sources. Team determined to keep him in KC.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 27, 2017
Following up on this, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported the Chiefs are “working hard” to make Berry the highest-paid safety in the NFL.
It’s been reported that Kansas City will resort to using the franchise tag designation if it needs to in order to keep Berry from hitting the open market, despite what he’s said on the matter, if a long-term deal cannot be reached.
Current expectation is that unless they sign one of them next 48 hours, #Chiefs will franchise tag Eric Berry and let Dontari Poe be UFA
— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) February 27, 2017
Obviously, the Chiefs and Berry would rather not venture into those choppy waters, which is why it isn’t surprising to hear the two sides are “making a strong push” to resolve this situation.
Berry is undeniably one of the NFL’s premier safeties. He was an elite prospect when he entered the NFL as a first-round rookie out of 2010 and he’s only gotten better with age. Remarkably, not even Hodgkin’s Lymphoma could keep the man from returning with a vengeance to haunt NFL quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends the past two years.
Last season, he racked up 77 total tackles, four interceptions and two touchdowns. For his career, Berry has proved to be quite the playmaker with five touchdowns on 14 interceptions.