Eric Berry Contract Analysis
Total Value: 6 years, $78,000,000 – $13M Average Per Year
Eric Berry Contract Length
Six years has become more the standard when extending star defensive players (i.e. Ndamukong Suh, Marcell Dareus, Von Miller, Justin Houston, Fletcher Cox, etc.). If he plays out the entirety of this deal, he’ll be 34 years old before he can hit the open market again.
Eric Berry Contract Compensation
At $13-million annually, Berry edged passed Arizona’s Tyrann Mathieu ($12.5-million APY) to become the highest-paid safety in NFL history. The compensation in this contract places Berry as the highest-paid safety, the seventh-highest paid defensive back and the 24th-highest paid defensive player in the NFL.
His $20-million signing bonus is a nice upfront payday for Berry, as is the $42.5 million (55%) he’ll receive in the first three years of the contract. Adding a $100,000 bonus for the veteran to complete the offseason workout program is nice, but I doubt it increases Berry’s motivation to play the game of football.
Eric Berry Contract Guarantees
With $40 million (51%) guaranteed and $29.8 million (38%) fully guaranteed, Berry definitely has some security. His 2017 and 2018 base salaries are fully guaranteed, and his 2019 base salary fully guarantees in March of 2019. The team would still be on the hook for $12 million in dead money if they were to release Berry before this, so his large signing bonus almost ensures that he’ll be on the team to see that $12.4-million base in 2019. It would take an almost unprecedented drop in performance for Kansas City to release the leader of their secondary.
Eric Berry Contract Cap Hits
Berry has a very manageable $5-million cap hit in 2017, which allowed the cap-strapped Chiefs to get this deal done. The two other interesting years are 2019 and 2021.
2019: $12.4 million of his $16.5-million 2019 cap hit stem from his base salary. This makes Berry a prime candidate to restructure his contract to create cap-relief for Kansas City. Cornerback Marcus Peters, if he isn’t extended before then, would be going into his fifth-year option in 2019. The team would definitely love to resign him before they enter the same game of franchise tag they played with Berry.
2021: A $16-million cap hit at age 32 is rarely a good thing for an NFL player. If Berry’s play starts to decline, 2021 could be a year he is asked to renegotiate or be released.
Eric Berry Contract Summary
After fighting and beating cancer in 2014, Berry showed that he’s every bit the game changer he was before the setback. He’s been at his best during the past two seasons, and the Chiefs were going to lose him if he played out the 2017 season on the franchise tag. FOF over-projected Berry by $0.5-million per year. I was assuming that Berry would have wanted to at least match Mathieu’s cap adjusted APY, but simply surpassing him in raw value sufficed. It’s arguable whether or not Berry is the best safety in the NFL. He is, however, in the upper echelon of the position, and more importantly, he was next up.