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Deadline day: Can Eric Berry and the Chiefs bridge the gap?

Here we are on deadline day. The Kansas City Chiefs have until 3 p.m. (Arrowhead Time) to sign Eric Berry to a long-term deal. If they do not, Berry will play out the year on the one-year, $10.8 million franchise tender that he has yet to sign. The Chiefs then wouldn’t be able to negotiate a long-term deal with him until after the 2016 season.

Let’s recap where we’ve been. A string of reports on Wednesday said that Berry and the Chiefs were unlikely to reach a deal. I can’t imagine Chiefs GM John Dorsey cutting off talks early so you can imagine which side those leaks came from. On Thursday, two more reports said they are far apart but that there is still time. So here we sit on Friday.

Dorsey has history with waiting until the deadline. He did deadline deals with Dwayne Bowe and Justin Houston, both of whom were paid premium money. The Chiefs have set the market before and have made big deals before so I would be shocked if they didn’t have a competitive offer in there. Additionally, Clark Hunt publicly said they want Berry to be a Chief for a long time. Clark said that about Alex Smith and about Justin Houston. He doesn’t say that about just anyone.

Rand Getlin of NFL Network has reported on Berry’s side and suggested that $12 million per year is a reasonable ask for Berry. The previous high for a safety was $10 million per year from Earl Thomas but that came two years ago. Harrison Smith recently signed a deal that pays him slightly over $10 million per year.

So if I’m looking at these reports, it seems reasonable to predict that they’re talking between $10-12 million per year. That’s close enough that I’m holding out some hope this can get done. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport noted that Dorsey’s best offer historically comes on the last day (like most negotiations).

Nationally, folks don’t have much hope this gets done by Friday afternoon. Locally, folks are saying this is Eric Berry we’re talking about. How can this not get done?

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