A post from Bleacher Report says that the Kansas City Chiefs intend to sign either Eric Berry or Dontari Poe ahead of Free Agency before using the Franchise Tag on the other.
There are some major decisions that lie ahead of the Kansas City Chiefs front office for the 2017 off-season. At the top of those decisions are the contracts of safety Eric Berry and defensive tackle Dontari Poe. Both players are set to become free agents when the league year begins on March 9th.
This comes as good news, but perhaps not particularly surprising following what GM John Dorsey had to say about the two in his Thursday press conference. There, Dorsey openly spoke about contract negotiations with the two players. The Chiefs GM expressed optimism about the progress being made with both Eric Berry and Dontari Poe.
Regarding Eric Berry, John Dorsey stated: “We’ve had very positive conversations with his representatives. … Hopefully, two sides can come together and mesh this thing out.” That claim was later countered by one from Berry’s agent. However, it would be a stretch to say that it was refuting the claims of Dorsey.
“We’ve had very positive conversations with his representatives. … Hopefully, two sides can come together and mesh this thing out.” ~ John Dorsey on contract talks with Eric Berry
Another wrinkle to this situation came out today via a tweet from Bleacher Report. BR is claiming that the Chiefs intend to sign either Eric Berry or Dontari Poe before the start of Free Agency. The team will then use the Franchise Tag on the other player. This comes across as a very pragmatic strategy, though I do have some questions about it.
The Franchise Tag
While using the Franchise Tag, in theory, makes a lot of sense for the Chiefs, the actual ability to do it is questionable. First of all, the tag amounts for either Eric Berry or Dontari Poe would be extremely difficult for the Chiefs to take. For Berry, the Franchise Tag amount would come to around $13 million because it would be his second year under it. For Poe, it would be slightly higher at $13.5 million.
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The Chiefs currently have an estimated $3.5 million in salary cap space for 2017. There are some moves the team can make to open up more money. However, it’s tough to see how they could do enough to create the cap room to both sign one player and franchise the other. Of course, John Dorsey has worked some wizardry before.
However, another concern is that safety Eric Berry has already made public comments that he will not play on the Franchise Tag in 2017. That’s not hard to understand given he just played a masterful season on the tag in 2016. If anyone deserves a new contract, it’s Berry.
Ultimately, I do not see the Kansas City Chiefs using the Franchise Tag in 2017. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t get one of these contracts done ahead of Free Agency. In fact, I would be surprised if one of them didn’t. For my money, it will be Eric Berry who gets paid. After the season he had in 2016, there could be a full fledged riot at Arrowhead if the Kansas City Chiefs didn’t re-sign him.