X

Chiefs Reportedly Expected to Franchise-Tag Eric Berry over Dontari Poe

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2017

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 08:  Safety Eric Berry #29 of the Kansas City Chiefs gets set on defense against the Oakland Raiders during the first half on December 8, 2016 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

If faced with the choice of placing the franchise tag on either safety Eric Berry or defensive tackle Dontari Poe, the Kansas City Chiefs are reportedly set to stick with Berry.

ESPN's Ed Werder reported Monday that, if neither Berry nor Poe signs a long-term deal in the next 48 hours, the Chiefs will franchise Berry and allow Poe to test free agency.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported later on Monday that Berry and the Chiefs were working on a deal that would make him the highest-paid safety in the NFL. Both sides "sound optimistic" that a deal will get done, according to Bleacher Report's Jason Cole.

When asked about getting franchised on Feb. 2, Berry said he would sit out the 2017 season rather than sign the tender, per Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star: "I'll just take that time to chill with my family, honestly, [and] I'll sit the season out. I just want what's right. That's it."

Berry continued to "stand firm" on Sunday.

After missing 10 games in 2014 due to an ankle injury and a Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosis, Berry was declared cancer-free and returned to All-Pro form in 2015 with 61 tackles and two interceptions.

The 28-year-old 2010 first-round pick played under the franchise tag in 2016 and excelled, registering 77 tackles, four interceptions and two touchdowns en route to his fifth Pro Bowl and third first-team All-Pro selection.

Poe is a two-time Pro Bowler after racking up 10.5 sacks between 2013 and 2014, but his production has been down since then. He had just 2.5 sacks over the past two campaigns, and in 2016, he set a career low with 27 tackles.

The 26-year-old out of Memphis is a major space-eater along Kansas City's defensive front, however, and is a key figure in opening things up for pass-rushers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali.

While Poe would be a loss, Berry is arguably the NFL's best safety, and the Chiefs have little depth behind him.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.