This time around, the Chiefs made Eric Berry their top priority.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that the Pro Bowl backstop has agreed to a new deal with Kansas City worth $78 million over six years with $40 million in guarantees, per sources.
The contract will make Berry the highest-paid safety in the NFL ahead of Arizona’s Tyrann Mathieu and Minnesota’s Harrison Smith.
It’s a well-deserved deal for a player the Chiefs failed to reach a long-term agreement with last July after the sides were “miles apart” in contract talks.
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That left Berry, 28, to play under the franchise tag, something the seven-year safety had no plans of repeating in 2017, saying earlier this month: “I want to end my career in Kansas City. I want to play there. I love the city, I love the vibe, I love my teammates. I really look at them more than teammates. We’ve been through a lot and they supported me a lot. And the organization. But I don’t feel comfortable playing under the franchise tag this year.”
As recently as Sunday, Berry told The Kansas City Star about wholesale NFL jerseys he was “going to keep being patient” for a new pact, an approach that paid off in time for the Chiefs to seal up their star safety before likely using the tag on defensive tackle Dontari Poe.
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It’s a win for the Chiefs, a team now in position to keep two of their finest players on defense. Berry was phenomenal last season, nabbing All-Pro honors and finishing the year as the league’s eighth-ranked safety, per Pro Football Focus.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday the Chiefs are negotiating a deal with Berry to make him the highest-paid safety in the NFL. The sides are working hard at a deal, Rapoport added, which could be reached before Wednesday’s deadline to franchise tag players.
This is a positive development for Berry, who was hit with the franchise tag last season and didn’t sound particulary optimistic that a deal was close this past weekend. “I’m going to keep being patient because you never know,” Berry said Sunday, via the Kansas City Star. “Last year I thought one thing and it didn’t happen. So I’m not getting my hopes up; I’m looking at it logically.”
With the deadline for teams to use the tag approaching on Wednesday, Berry isn’t holding his breath that he’ll get the chance to sign a multi-year deal with jerseys wholesale in the coming days.
“I’m going to keep being patient because you never know,” Berry said Sunday, via the Kansas City Star. “Last year I thought one thing and it didn’t happen. So I’m not getting my hopes up; I’m looking at cheap jerseys logically.”
Berry said his agent and the team have been discussing a potential new deal. The All-Pro safety also reiterated that he would sit out rather than play under the franchise tag again — a one-year deal that would pay him almost $13 million this time around.
The Chiefs have two tag candidates in Berry and defensive tackle Dontari Poe jersey, but have yet to utilize the option on either.
If the Chiefs decide tagging Berry is the only way to keep him from walking in free agency, it could lead to a lengthy, contentious holdout that has the potential to last into the fall.