Jason Cole of B/R, citing a team source, reports that the Chiefs are hopeful that franchise S Eric Berry will end his holdout and return to the team before the start of the 2016 season.
According to Cole, Chiefs HC Andy Reid isn’t considered about his conditioning, but he’ll still need him to participate in practice. Cole’s sources added that the Chiefs plan to focus on a long-term contract for Berry once the 2016 season has concluded.
Berry isn’t being fined for his absence, considering that he has yet to sign his one-year franchise tender.
The two sides weren’t able to reach an agreement, despite many who expected the Chiefs to lock him up before the deadline to negotiate with franchise players.
Berry has said that he wants to remain with the Chiefs long-term.
“Obviously, I would love to be a Chief,” Berry said. “I want to be a Chief long-term just because of the community, the staff, from top to bottom, the players and everything.
“That’s what I’m really focused on, but sometimes things don’t go as planned and I’m prepared for that. But, hopefully, it goes as planned and I’m prepared for that, as well. So, that’s why I’m handling everything I can do on my end to make sure I don’t slip.”
Reports have mentioned that Berry likely has his eyes set on a big contract that could top the five-year, $51.25-million deal signed by Vikings S Harrison Smith a few weeks ago.
Berry, 27, worked his way back from Hodgkin’s lymphoma and managed to produce an impressive 2015 season. if a former first-round pick of the Chiefs back in 2010. He played out his rookie contract with the team before receiving the team’s franchise tag a few week ago.
The franchise tag will run the Chiefs $10.806 million fully guaranteed for the 2016 season.
In 2015, Berry appeared in all 16 games and recorded 61 tackles, two interceptions, and 10 pass defenses for the Chiefs. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 4 safety out of 88 qualifying players.