Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk gave a pretty good explanation for why the Kansas City Chiefs and Eric Berry couldn’t come to a long-term agreement last week.
The franchise tag used to be calculated by taking the average pay of the five highest paid players at that position. I went to Over The Cap and calculated the average annual payout for the five highest paid safeties and it came out to $9.5 million.
But Berry’s franchise tag is $10.8 million, already higher than the highest paid safety. That’s because in recent years the tag formula has changed to a percentage of the cap rather than the five highest paid salaries. The cap has gone up so the franchise tag amount has too but the safety market hasn’t followed suit. Florio has the details here if you’re interested in those.
What this means is that you have the Chiefs who want to compare his pay to the highest paid safeties which averages out to $9.5 million based on the top five. Then you have Berry who says based on the current franchise tag that he should be a $12 million per year player because, well, that’s what the franchise tag says over the next two seasons.
That’s perhaps why you get tweets like this...
A bit of surprising news regarding Berry: I’m also hearing the two sides never agreed on a single component of a deal. Not one.— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) July 15, 2016
...because they’re negotiating from two different spots.
At least that’s my read on the situation. I wasn’t in the room so I can’t say for sure that these were the main negotiating points but this explanation makes the most sense to me.