The Kansas City Chiefs formally placed the franchise tag on Eric Berry on Tuesday and they made it clear that the two sides are working towards a long-term contract.
"Our goal is to keep Eric in Kansas City for the foreseeable future," Chiefs GM John Dorsey said in a statement. "He's a special player that means a lot to our organization, the city, and has been a critical piece in building our foundation. With today being the deadline to use the franchise tag, we felt it was in the best interest of the club to place the tag on Eric."
The Chiefs have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal with Berry. If they don't strike a deal by then, Berry must play out the 2016 on his one-year $10.8 million tender. Berry has not signed the tender yet (as far as I know).
This is the third time John Dorsey has used the franchise tag. The first time they ended up losing Branden Albert after a year on the tag; the second time they tagged Houston and signed him to a long-term deal on July 15, the day of the deadline. It's a good bet that Berry will be more like the latter, where the tag is used as a bridge to a long-term deal.
Here's a look at John Dorsey's statements when they tagged Houston last year and Albert three years ago. Compare these to Berry's statement and it's clear the Chiefs want to keep their safety in town.
Justin Houston (2015): "Justin is a talented player and a key contributor to our defense. Today was the deadline to designate a franchise player, and it was in the best interest of the club to place the tag on Justin. We will continue to discuss long-term options with him and his agent. Our goal is to reach a deal that is mutually beneficial. We want to keep Justin in a Chiefs uniform for years to come."
Branden Albert (2013): "Today was the league's deadline to designate a franchise player and we felt it was in the best interest of the Kansas City Chiefs to place the tag on Branden. We will continue to negotiate with Branden and his agent to reach a deal that is mutually beneficial. We are looking forward to working with Branden in the near future."