For the first time since becoming an unrestricted free agent and subsequently receiving the franchise tag, Eric Berry discussed his allegiance with the Chiefs. The seventh-year safety “definitely” wants to stay in Kansas City “long-term,” according to Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star.
GM John Dorsey has engaged in discussions with Berry’s representatives for months, and chairman Clark Hunt has gotten the impression the two-time first-team All-Pro defender values approves of the direction the Chiefs are going.
“I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to get a long-term deal with him done here in the next several months,” Hunt told media, including Paylor. “He’s certainly somebody that we would like to be a Chief for a very, very long time.”
Berry hasn’t signed his $10.81MM franchise tender, a figure that only one other safety — the Saints’ Jairus Byrd — is set to earn this season. Paylor writes the Chiefs, who possess $6.29MM in cap space, can slash that $10.8MM number by about half by signing Berry to an extension.
- The division’s top three finishers last season each signed a player from a division rival, with the Chiefs adding Rod Streater after the Raiders brought in Sean Smith and Broncos poached Donald Stephenson. The Broncos signed Stephenson, a former third-round pick in 2012 whose career has underwhelmed to date, due to the versatility he could bring, Gary Kubiak told media (via Paylor). But the second-year Broncos coach identified Stephenson’s fit on the right side of their offensive line as one of the key factors in Denver deciding to sign him on Day 1 of free agency. Despite being eventually benched at right tackle after opening last season as the Chiefs’ left tackle starter, Stephenson figures to be the top candidate as of now to begin 2016 as the Broncos’ right tackle. Drafted to play right tackle, Ty Sambrailo — Denver’s 2015 second-rounder who slid to left tackle after Ryan Clady‘s ACL tear — may again see an offseason relocation, this time shifting inside to right guard.
- Instead of meeting Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s salary demands or bothering with Colin Kaepernick, the Broncos should take Dak Prescott with the second round’s final pick, Woody Paige of the Denver Post writes. Paige likens the Mississippi State prospect to a version of Tim Tebow, whom the longtime columnist was high on during his time in Denver, only with a much better passing acumen. Generally sliding in as a Day 2 option for teams behind Conner Cook and the trio of signal-callers with first-round projections, Prescott accounted for nearly 4,500 total yards as a junior and completed a career-best 66.2% of his throws while throwing for a career-best 3,793 yards last season. The former Bulldogs dual-threat talent has a visit scheduled with the Broncos. Former Cowboys personnel man Gil Brandt told Paige a team will use a mid-round pick on Prescott and attempt to develop him into a “Cam (Newton)-like quarterback.”
- Playing on a one-year lease at their 50-year-old stadium in 2016, the Raiders will pay $3.5MM in rent this season at O.co Coliseum after that figure stood at $925K last season, David DeBolt and Rebecca Parr report for InsideBayArea.com. The massive increase stems from increased costs of game-day security and other factors, Coliseum authority executive director Scott McKibben told the website. “We’re more or less trying to pass along some of these (costs) to the Raiders which is not unlike any other NFL team,” McKibben said. “I spent a lot of time visiting with a lot of other NFL teams and this has been customary throughout the league. And quite honestly at the end of the day the Raiders were very cooperative with us on that.” Seeking a new stadium despite discussions that haven’t progressed, the Raiders have courted other cities in which to settle, with Los Angeles and Las Vegas chief among them.