Chiefs franchise S Eric Berry is surprised that contract talks with the team aren’t further along.
“I thought it would progress a little bit more, but it’s still been pretty much the same since the last time we talked,” Berry said, via Herbie Teope of ChiefsDigest.com. “A lot can change in a week; a lot can change from whenever the deadline is.”
Berry did, however, reiterate that he wants to remain with the Chiefs long-term and added that nothing has changed in this regard.
“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.”
Last we heard, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported that there’s a “reasonable chance” Berry ends up being the highest-paid safety in the NFL at some point in the near future.
According to Fowler, Berry 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.
Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt mentioned at the owners meetings several months ago that he’s “hopeful” they would be able to reach a long-term agreement in place for Berry before the July 15 deadline.
“Well, I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to get a long-term deal with him done here in the next several months,” Hunt said, via the Kansas City Star. “He’s certainly somebody that we would like to be a Chief for a very, very long time.”
The sides have until July 15 to negotiate a long-term extension that would prevent Berry from testing the open market next year.
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, but won’t prevent them from negotiating a long-term deal that would reduce this figure and offer them some additional cap space.
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.
We’ll have more regarding a new contract for Berry as the news is available.