Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas (29) during Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. The Seahawks defeated the Broncos 43-8. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Berry, Earl Thomas, And What It Means For The Kansas City Chiefs


Earl Thomas is a rich man.

Not that he wasn’t already, he was a first round pick in the old collective bargaining era, but he more wealthy now than he used to be after Seattle announced he and the team have agreed to a contract extension. The deal is reportedly worth $40 million over the next four years with a little under $28 million being guaranteed. This is a pretty nice haul for a man who now has the richest annual value contract for a safety in NFL history.

Here are three initial thoughts of what this means for Berry and the Chiefs moving forward.

1. The Game Is Changing

A common refrain from critics of Thomas’ extension, and critics of Eric Berry, is this is too much money to be spent on a safety. History, they say, suggests a safety should not make this much money, and it is unwise to spend so much of the salary cap at the position.

These sentiments would have been true 10 years ago, however the game has changed significantly since then. Consider running backs and their changing value. There is a strong likelihood no running back will be drafted in the first round for the second straight year. Many teams are not signing running backs to big contracts after the age of 28 anymore. Championships used to be built on the legs of running backs – a popular belief of Carl Peterson – but now they’re built on the arms of quarterbacks.

What was true in 2000 is no longer true now when it comes to how the game is played. The teams who evolve and recognize the value of different players and different positions as the game changes will be the teams who are still alive in late January.

It is also important to note that two of the eight highest paid safeties in the NFL play for the Seattle Seahawks. Make of that what you will.

2. The Money Isn’t As Bad As You’d Think

Jairus Byrd signed a six-year, $54 million deal on the open market to play for the New Orleans Saints this past March. At no point in his contract will his cap number be more than what Berry’s will be this season. This tells us several things: A) It’s good to be a top free agent B) the old CBA sucked C) Berry’s next deal may be more team friendly than his rookie deal.

Specific deals of Thomas’ contract have not been released, but one would assume it is not evenly spread out at $10 million per season. It is interesting to note that, while his annual average is higher, he got fewer years and less overall money than Byrd. This only reinforced the idea that it’s all about the guaranteed money.

Byrd guaranteed: $18.3 million

Thomas guaranteed: $27.725 million

3. Berry Could Be Cheaper

According to Pro Football Focus, Eric Berry (+14.5) was a better cumulative player than Earl Thomas (+7.5) and Jarius Byrd (+9.9) last season. Even more surprisingly, Berry graded higher in pass coverage than both of those men. This becomes more impressive when one considers Berry was targeted 63 times compared to Thomas and Byrd’s combine 50 targets.

However, it also tells you how good Thomas and Byrd are that they can post such high numbers with so few targets. Their abilities to create plays with few opportunities is what helps them get the nod over Berry.

 

 

It is important to note Berry is losing the best safety in football argument. Being in the argument means you’re pretty damn good. So what does that mean for how he should be valued?

If the consensus is he is not as good as Thomas then he should expect less money than Thomas, no? The odds he’ll hit the free market are very low considering how cheap it would be for the Chiefs to use the franchise tag on him ($8.433 million in 2014). Only tight ends, kickers, and punters are cheaper.

Ultimately, the right move is to keep Berry in Kansas City, even though pundits will criticize the move. The new CBA requires most all of the cap money to be spent and that means every team is going to have some obnoxiously paid players. I’d rather those players making $10 million per year be guys like Berry as opposed to, say, this guy.

 

Tags: Earl Thomas Eric Berry Kansas City Chiefs

  • Stacy D. Smith

    He’ll have enough jack to buy a stable full of horses.

    • berttheclock

      and a very solid barricade between him and those horsies.

  • Abel Tovar

    The Thomas deal shouldn’t mean anything to Berry because berry isn’t anywhere near the safety thomas is. He’s lucky to get half of what Thomas gets.

    • Daniel Mayfield

      I think you need to flip the names. Look at the numbers, not the $$ numbers either. The reason Thomas looked so “great” was the other Safety. 2 “good” Safeties can make each other look great.
      If you look close to how well Berry played, again check out the numbers, Berry is valuable player. I just hope KC don’t lose him.

      • Abel Tovar

        You’re insane. Thomas is the best player on the best secondary. Berry is mediocre on a mediocre defense and team.

        • berttheclock

          I happen to live in the PNW and lived in Seattle from ’87 to 2000. Then, moved to Portland/Vancouver. So, I have followed the Seahawks for several years and I respect what John Scheider/Pete Carroll and Scott McCloughan have done to build a power house. But, I, also, am very aware that the majority of the fans of Seahawks are some of the most obnoxious fans anywhere. They, as well as the M’s fans and the old Sonics fans are nothing but front running fans. Some of the 12th Man types grew so vicious, the Seattle PD had to put undercover police officers in the stands dressed as opposing fans. Downtown, some of the 12th Man assaulted a grandmother and her grandchild because she had complained about their filthy language. Yes, I lived in Seattle before Abner Doubleday III came to Seattle in ’95 and invented baseball. Prior to that year, anyone could walk up to the old Kingdome and find a seat as few people knew the M’s even existed and one rarely saw any M’s gear anywhere in Pioneer Square. However, when the M’s made their great late run in ’95, suddenly, everyone in the PNW had been a fan of the M’s all their respective lives. Pure front runners.

          Go back to the Emerald City and chill. You won the SB. Stay out of the affairs of the Chiefs.

          • Abel Tovar

            I’m actually a Niners fan and just being honest. But thanks for the pointless self history lesson.

          • Daniel Mayfield

            I’m not insane, I’m just being honest. Numbers numbers numbers. You do understand numbers don’t you? Did you read the article or just decide to “jump” on my comment

          • Abel Tovar

            You actually jumped on MY comment. But after your “numbers” argument, I can see how facts don’t matter to you. If they did, you would see Thomas has better numbers.

          • Daniel Mayfield

            I know the numbers….Berry is better in a few more ways than Thomas. But I’m not gonna argue with niners fan that’s trying to tell me that a Seattle player is better than a KC player. Stick with your team. Oh, and like the article says….Safeties aren’t worth that much $$. That RB, WR, QB, maybe LB $$. Not DBs.
            QBs usually get more so u don’t need to let me know about that.

          • Abel Tovar

            You know the numbers? Then state them. Don’t say something ignorant like the NUMBERS and then don’t back it up. What’s Berry better in? And don’t hide behind the fact that I’m a Niner fan to keep from admitting you don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • Nick the Kick

            Berry doesn’t play next to the best #1 corner and the best nickel in the league. Nobody here denied thomas is good. And if you are a 49ers fan why on earth are you trolling a Chiefs site to defend the honor (which wasn’t even challenged) of a Seahawks? I wouldn’t cheerlead for Peyton Manning on a 3rd team site after a glue sniffing binge. The PFF #s are far better indicators of a player’s value than his INT or tackle totals or whether he almost came 3rd in some meaningless award.

          • Abel Tovar

            Chiefs fans are so stupid, you especially Nick. Thomas makes Sherman the best CB. Thomas controls the entire middle of the field…alone. Leaving Sherman only to have to worry about the fade pass. As for me being a Niner fan, I’m just being honest. This stupid article came up in my team stream for whatever reason so I addressed it.

            Thanks for the 2nd round pick for game manager Smith. Idiots.

          • Nick the Kick

            What is this fade pattern nonsense? Richard Sherman is widely acknowledged to be the best corner in the NFL. Sherman did pick off a duck in the endzone (one Alex Smith wouldn’t have throw) on a fade pattern. Smith an Kapernick put up almost identical #s last year. Smith had a mediocre o-line, Dwayne Bowe is his best wr, his only advantage was the best rb in the game. Kapernick had a top 5 line, Vernon Davis, Boldin, Crabtree, Frank Gore, and off season continuity. Plus Alex doesn’t follow his haters on Twitter or put himself in situations where he gets investigated for rape. If there is a huge disparity between them in a couple years favoring Kap, I will admit I’m wrong, but right now, give me Smith all day long.

          • Abel Tovar

            You’re so stupid that this isn’t even fun. Almost identical numbers yet you forget one is in their 9th season and Kap was in his first full season as a starter. Yet Kap is already better.

            Damn right Alex wouldn’t throw that pass…because it was in a championship game and Alex won’t ever get to one again. The KC defense carried his ass just like the SF

          • Abel Tovar

            Kap only had Boldin and Davis all year. Crab only played in 5 games. The difference between Kap and Alex is that Kap has carried his team in the playoffs more than one and Alex has failed every time. When he was in SF, Alex went a combined 5-28 on 3rd downs. That was the reason NO got back in the game after the defense spotted him a 17-0 lead and that’s why we lost to the Giants. Alex had a chance to lead a game winning drive TWICE yet he threw 5 of 6 passes in the DIRT with no pressure. No one was sad to see him leave. Good riddance.

          • Nick the Kick

            The fact that you think calling people “stupid” or “idiots” is the way to get your point across or win an argument shows how little respect anyone should give your arguments. I like this site because we usually have intelligent discourse about our team and don’t usually draw in trolls who make ad hominem attacks. Why don’t you go back to your site and leave people who know what they’re talking about alone.

          • Abel Tovar

            Calling you stupid and an idiot is just stating the obvious. I use facts and stats to prove my point. Two different things there

          • Kali Chief

            You’re the idiot. . . If your team had that “Game Manager”, they might not have got Whooped in the in the Super Bowl and they Damn sure wouldn’t have been Ripped Raped and Reminded that their needed that “Game Manager “! ! ! Since we’re on the subject of idiots!

          • Abel Tovar

            Whooped in the SB?! We were 5 yards short of winning it. Guess by that logic you guys got WHOOPED by the colts last year after the most EPIC collapse led by the game manager. No thanks, I’ll take Kap any day over the “game manager” that can’t even get to the SB and has a losing playoff record. Lol. Thanks for the 2nd round pick though.

          • Abel Tovar

            Oh wow. Look at that. Looks like they are going to trade Berry. Why would they do that if he was as elite as you clowns say he is?!?! Lol. Answer…he’s not.

          • Nick the Kick

            How about a real argument “niners” fan? Like my contention that it was a huge mistake for your team to go with Kap over Alex Smith or the fact that Navarro Bowman couldn’t carry Derrick Johnson’s lunch? Who you got @ SS in Berry’s league? What’s the over/under on how many 49ers get indicted this year?

          • Abel Tovar

            Wow. You crossed the line from stupid to retarded. In what world is Alex better than Kap? Explain you twit.

          • Abel Tovar

            Johnson who? Never heard of him. Too busy hearing about the best LB tandem in Willis and bowman

          • Justin R Groth

            First off welcom to arrowhead addict, it’s a fun site for CHIEFS fans to go to and respectfully discuss with other fans who can not get enough info about the CHIEFS . As for your numbers, niether saftey statistically ominate the other. Both are amazing young players.
            Player 1: 72.67 tackles, 12.33 assists, 1.83 sacks, 1 FF, 2.67 int, .67 FR,10 PD
            Player 2: 65.25 tackles, 24 assists, 0 sacks, 1.25 FF, 3.75 int, 0.75 FR, 8.25 PD
            As you can see both players avg. season is similar. The main difference Isn’t in the players but the schemes.
            Please next time you want to make an asinine state ment like calling all CHIEFS fans idiots, don’t please. It makes you look ignorant in the ways of etiquette and it’s plain rude.

          • berttheclock

            All that shows is there are ignorant obnoxious fans in more cities than Seattle.

      • Abel Tovar

        No one has ever considered or voted for Berry to be Defensive Player of the year like they have Thomas.

        • Daniel Mayfield

          Like I just said, look at the space in the numbers. With the teammate Thomas has, it helps him look better.
          Don’t matter on the voters. Just on how good they play. Not saying Thomas isn’t any good.
          Put it this way….
          KC fans hate the Broncos.
          If they would vote on which QB they like more, Smith or Manning, I think I know who they would “like” more but if you put the numbers together….who is the better 1? Peyton.
          You get my point? If it’s voting, then Thomas is better. If you go into details and look at stats, Berry is better.

          • Abel Tovar

            What numbers are you thing about? Did YOU look at them before you made that comment? Nope. Thomas has more tackles and INTs last year than Berry and more Tackles and INTs for his career than Berry. On top of that, Seattle plays cover 1 defense with Thomas on top ALONE. Thomas makes Seattles secondary the best. Without Thomas, Sherman would be nothing. All Sherman has to worry about is the fade pass because Thomas controls the middle alone.

        • Nick the Kick

          What does some popularity contest award (which he didn’t win) have to do with anything? #s don’t lie and Berry is the superior talent.

          • Abel Tovar

            Numbers don’t lie? Exactly. Thomas was targeted less than Berry yet had more tackles and more INTs.

  • Kevin Whittaker

    My problem with the “Earl Thomas gets targeted less, so that means he is better” argument is pretty simple: Eric Berry has had more opportunities to see targets and has still allowed less completions on average than Earl Thomas. So, if you have ever learned anything about probability, you would know that it becomes more accurate the more times the action is repeated. So, we know what Eric Berry’s numbers would look like with 63 more targets, but we don’t know what Earl Thomas’ would be. Yes, that means Earl Thomas could end up being better if he faced that many targets, but we don’t know for sure. All we know is he is worse with less targets, but we can at least say Eric Berry’s completion % against is more accurate than Earl Thomas’ and it is also better. So, saying Earl Thomas is better because he faced less targets is a stupid argument to me because the numbers don’t back it up. But of course, people will just say numbers don’t matter in this situation and once again Eric Berry can’t win. Sad.

  • Randall Miller

    Abel…knock it off! You used the “R” word. You have just lost your argument. AND not all Chiefs fans are stupid!!! It is common knowledge true Niner fans realized loosing Alex was a mistake and cost them a title, all due to your HC and his ego….since the Bay area media has continued to bring this point up, your ideas are mute. You want stats, how about looking at some game film. Game management versus mistakes.

    • Abel Tovar

      Alex is so important, then why won’t KC extend him and are looking for a QB in the draft. He’s only 30 and if he was any good then KC and Reid would sign him up and keep him for 5-6 years. Lol. Clown