The Kansas City Chiefs won't let the Comeback Player of the Year reach free agency.
The Chiefs applied the non-exclusive franchise tag safety Eric Berry on Tuesday, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported.
Explaining the tag
» The exclusive franchise tag is a one-year tender offer to a player for an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player's position, or 120 percent of the player's previous salary, whichever is greater. The player's team has all negotiating rights to the player.
» The non-exclusive franchise tag is a one-year tender offer determined through a more complicated process. First, the average of the top-five salaries at the position over the last five years is calculated. Next, the percentage against the cap for each of those five seasons is averaged out and applied toward the current season cap to determine the offer amount. The player can negotiate with other teams. The player's current team has the right to match any offer, or receive two first-round picks as compensation.
» The transition tag is a one-year tender offer to a player for an amount that is the average of the top 10 salaries at the position and is calculated using the same formula as the non-exclusive franchise tag number. It guarantees the original club the right of first refusal to match any offer the player may receive from another team. The transition tag can only be used if the franchise tag is not used by a team in that year. Transition tags can be rescinded, but teams that rescind a transition tag cannot use it again until next season.
"Our goal is to keep Eric in Kansas City for the foreseeable future," Chiefs General Manager John Dorsey said in a statement. "He's a special player that means a lot to our organization, the city, and has been a critical piece in building our foundation. With today being the deadline to use the franchise tag, we felt it was in the best interest of the club to place the tag on Eric."
The non-exclusive franchise tag for safeties sits at $10.806 million. Other team would have the option to negotiation and sign Berry to a tender, with K.C. owning the option to match. If it's not matched, that team would owe the Chiefs two first-round draft picks -- this is the tag used on most players. Outside of quarterbacks, most teams aren't willing to risk two first-round draft picks for a position player, meaning Berry will be a Chief in 2016.
The sides have until July 15 to hammer out a long-term deal.
Berry returned from Hodgkin's lymphoma this season without missing a beat, earning his fourth Pro Bowl selection and second first-team All-Pro designation along with the Comeback Player of the Year award.
Keeping Berry in Kansas City was a priority for general manager John Dorsey.
One of the best overall safeties in the NFL, Berry excels in coverage, allowing the Chiefs leeway on their back end and pressure packages. Berry played at a lighter weight in 2015 after beating cancer, allowing him to faster and more aggressive than his previous campaigns.
The Chiefs have a bevy of free agents on the defensive side of the ball they would like to keep, including Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Jaye Howard, Tyvon Branch and so on.
Locking Berry down is priority No. 1. They'll use the a franchise tag to ensure he goes nowhere.