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Chiefs aren’t willing to use tag as starting point for Eric Berry deal

Mike Florio explains why many franchise tag players like Kirk Cousins or Eric Berry will not likely sign long-term deals this year.

As explained last night, it’s easy to calculate long-term deals based on the franchise tag. This year, however, it’s harder to get the deals done.

Per a league source, that’s the issue keeping the Chiefs and safety Eric Berry from negotiating a multi-year contract. With a fully-guaranteed salary of $10.8 million for 2016, Berry would be entitled to $12.96 million under the tag in 2017. That’s $23.76 fully-guaranteed at signing over the first two years at a minimum for Berry, who won an ESPY last night as the best comeback player in sports following his bout with cancer in late 2014 and early 2015.

Already, Berry’s franchise tag makes him the highest-paid safety in football. A long-term deal based on the tag would drive the average to $11.88 million over the first two years. Currently, Vikings safety Harrison Smith has the highest average on a multi-year deal at $10.25 million.

So the Chiefs aren’t willing to do that, and Berry isn’t willing to do a deal based on different metrics. As a result, he’ll likely play for $10.8 million this year and either get $12.96 million in 2017 or have the market set his value.

Of course, the problem with having the market set a guy’s value is that there’s a chance someone else will be giving him that value.