The heart and soul of the Chiefs will remain in Kansas City.
Star safety Eric Berry and the Chiefs reached a six-year, $78 million contract agreement Tuesday, a source with knowledge of the deal confirmed to The Star. The contract also includes $40 million guaranteed with a $20 million signing bonus, according to the source.
“Keeping Eric Berry in a Chiefs uniform long-term has been a significant goal of ours,” Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said in a release from the team announcing that Berry had signed his contract.
“He’s a special football player and an incredible person. We’re thrilled we were able to get this deal done.”
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Berry, 28, is coming off a second consecutive All-Pro season. He had said multiple times this offseason that he had no intention of playing in 2017 on a one-year franchise tender.
He will no longer have to deal with possibility, however, as the Chiefs and Berry’s agent, Chad Speck, made significant ground toward a long-term contract in recent days, culminating in a deal that will make Berry the NFL’s highest-paid safety.
“I’d like to thank Eric and his agent, Chad Speck, for their professionalism during these negotiations,” Dorsey said.
Berry’s average salary of $13 million on the new contract surpasses the $12.5 million per year given to Arizona safety Tyrann Mathieu last summer, and while their guaranteed money is the same, Berry’s signing bonus is more than Mathieu’s $15.5 million.
“I’m very happy for Eric and his family,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said in the release. “He has put in the hard work and preparation, and is without question one of the backbones of our defense and a team leader. He’s a special player and an exceptional human being.”
The contract with Berry allows the Chiefs to keep nose tackle Dontari Poe with the franchise tag. The deadline to use a franchise tag is 3 p.m. Wednesday.
NFL Network first reported the Chiefs and Berry were close to agreeing on a new contract.