Chiefs impending free agent S Eric Berry said during an appearance on NFL Network Thursday that he’s “definitely not” playing out another season under the franchise tag.
“I’m definitely not going to play under the franchise tag this year,” Berry said, via NFL.com. “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.”
Berry’s comments imply that he’s willing to hold out if the team uses their franchise tag on him for the second straight season.
Last week, Berry told reporters that he’s still hoping to re-sign with the Chiefs and return to Kansas City in 2017.
“I hope so,” Berry said, per Adam Teicher. “I think my agent had a conversation yesterday or something. It’s early.”
There has been some talk that the Chiefs could elect to use their franchise tag on fellow free agent DT Dontari Poe and try to work out a long-term deal with Berry.
It would cost the Chiefs around $13.15 million to tag him for a second straight season while franchising Poe would be $13.5 million or so.
Previous reports have said 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.
Berry, 28, 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 back in February.
The franchise tag cost the Chiefs $10.806 million fully guaranteed for the 2016 season.
In 2016, Berry appeared in all 16 games and recorded 77 tackles, four interceptions with two being returned for touchdowns, a forced fumble and nine pass defenses for the Chiefs. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 8 safety out of 92 qualifying players.
We have him featured in our Top 100 – 2017 Free Agents list.