The Chiefs have only one franchise tag to give but they have two key free agents that are worthy of consideration. Right now, the “expectation” is that they will tag Eric Berry and allow Dontari Poe to be an unrestricted free agent, unless one of them agrees to a new deal in the next 48 hours, Ed Werder of ESPN.com tweets.
Evaluations of Poe will vary depending on who you talk to. By our measure, Poe ranks as the fifth-best pending free agent defensive tackle, behind Kawann Short, Calais Campbell, Johnathan Hankins, and Brandon Williams. Some league execs might consider the former first-round pick to be as high as No. 3 on that list. No matter what, Poe will get major money thrown at him from all angles if he reaches the open market, and that could price him out of Kansas City.
Berry was retained with the franchise tag prior to the 2016 season and he has been vocal about not wanting to play under another one-year tender. If the Chiefs follow through on this plan and tag Berry, they could conceivably wind up in a standoff with their most popular player. Ideally, KC would probably like to work out a multi-year deal with the strong safety and use the franchise tag on Poe, particularly since the defensive tackle is amenable to playing on the lucrative one-year tender.
Here’s a fun fact from Albert Breer of The MMQB (on Twitter): the $12.97MM tag for Berry would push him to $73.82MM in career earnings, which means that he would remain the highest paid safety in NFL history on a average per-year basis. Of course, Berry would prefer to keep the mantle of highest-paid safety while also gaining the security of a multi-year deal.
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