After the way things unfolded between the Chiefs and their All-Pro safety over the past couple of weeks you have to wonder if it’s possible that we may have seen the last of Eric Berry in a Chiefs uniform. With the deadline to sign him to a long term deal passing yesterday the Chiefs may have lost any chance to retain Berry long term.
Two weeks ago I would have told anyone that Berry wasn’t going anywhere and that the Chiefs would find a way to get the deal done. I was still very optimistic last week that they could work through their differences in price and find a middle ground. Over the past week, even with the talk of the sides remaining far apart I still thought they would find a way to make things work. As it got close to 1 p.m. Arrowhead time it became crystal clear that the divide would not be made up.
Multiple reports started popping up as early as a week ago that the sides were a long way apart. The same thing happened last season with Justin Houston before he ended up signing his deal. As the deadline drew clearer for Houston and KC, they were able to make headway and strike a deal a couple of hours before the deadline last year. According to several reports yesterday Kansas City couldn’t agree to any terms of any agreement with their star safety.
To have both sides want to get a deal done and to be so far apart does not bode well for the future of Berry in KC. I can’t see Dorsey and Reid moving him this season or before the trade deadline, but I can’t see how if they were so far apart this year that they could hope to find a way to make a deal next season when the cap again will jump and the Chiefs will have another top safety or two with big new contracts to match or exceed.
The Chiefs best chance to keep him was to find a way to come to terms this year. The only way that Berry’s numbers will come down is if he has an injury or a setback neither of which are a likely scenario.
One of the sticking points that Berry and the Chiefs couldn’t agree on was Kansas City’s reported desire to have a disability policy for Berry worth around $ 20 million that would be payable to the Chiefs if something happened to him.
The biggest issue with this insurance was that Kansas City was asking Berry to pay the premium of $2 million for the insurance. While this isn’t a standard item in an NFL contract it goes to show that the Chiefs are concerned with Berry’s health long term which also makes me question if the deals they were willing to offer were really that long term.
While Chiefs fans may have lost the ability to ensure that Berry will be a Chief for his next several seasons there is a small chance they find a way to work something out after the season is over. The chance is small that they can find middle ground after the way the contract negotiations progressed this year and they have even less cap space in 2017.
Next: Now we move forward