Today is the first day the Kansas City Chiefs are allowed to use the franchise tag. They have from today until March 1 to apply the tag to someone. For the Chiefs, our best guess is that will be Eric Berry - if they don’t reach a long-term contract.
Even if the Chiefs do use the tag on Berry before March 1, it’s not over yet. The Chiefs would then have until July 15 to ink a long-term deal with Berry. If they don’t, it can only be that one-year franchise tender (or, technically, another one-year contract - but not a long-term one).
We think the Chiefs will put the tag on Berry, who said he will not play in the 2017 season under the tag (assuming they don’t strike a deal before that). Whatever Berry is saying, the Chiefs need to protect themselves by not letting one of their best players get away.
What are the chances the Chiefs sign Berry to a long-term deal if they franchise him? ESPN has a nice tag primer up that shows in the last five years there have been 47 franchise tags and 24 of them signed a long-term extension while 22 of them played out the season under the tag (and then the Jason Pierre-Paul thing last year is the other one).
Berry’s situation is fascinating. He’s already spent one season under the tag. Everyone knows his emotional backstory in the NFL. He’s also blossomed into the type of safety that the Chiefs need. It’s also super expensive as the only safety to be selected all-pro the past two seasons, arguably the two best of his career.