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For Chiefs, decision day on Eric Berry’s franchise tag is March 1

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Everyone heard about Eric Berry’s comments at the Super Bowl this week - that he won’t play on the franchise tag with the Chiefs this year. He reiterated it in an interview with Terez Paylor that he would take that time to chill with his family and sit out the season if tagged. We’ve heard comments like that from players before yet they don’t often actually miss games. However, I tend to take Berry at his word here.

I want to let everyone know of the key date here: March 1. That’s the deadline for the Chiefs to use the franchise tag. Free agency, when Berry could sign with another team if not tagged or under contract, is on March 9. The tag decision comes nine days before free agency. Andy Reid has rescinded a franchise tag before (twice) but we’d be getting ahead of ourselves with that scenario.

The cost of tagging Berry again would be 120 percent of last year which comes out to about $13 million. If Berry is going to set the market at safety, which he probably should, I bet he could get $13 million per year or more on a long-term deal. Five years, $65-70 million?

If you’re the Chiefs and March 1 comes, you have to protect yourself and use that tag. You’d still have time to work on a long-term deal that summer. You can’t risk him hitting the market and someone offering him $15 million a year.

More on this later but it’s worth noting that this is the second time the Chiefs have been burned by waiting to lock someone up (hi, Justin Houston). $12 million bucks a year looks like a bargain now.