Thanks to the Kansas City Chiefs, Eric Berry is now the highest paid safety in the National Football League.
The two sides agreed to a massive six-year, $78 million contact extension on Tuesday that will pay Berry an average annual salary of $13 million per year, which triumphs the average annual salaries of Arizona’s Tyrann Mathieu, Minnesota’s Harrison Smith, Seattle’s Earl Thomas, and New England’s Devin McCourty.
“I’d like to thank Eric and his agent, Chad Speck, for their professionalism during these negotiations,” Chiefs General Manager John Dorsey said in a statement. “Keeping Eric Berry in a Chiefs uniform long-term has been a significant goal of ours. He’s a special football player and an incredible person. We’re thrilled we were able to get this deal done.”
Berry’s deal will guarantee the 5-time Pro Bowler $40 million, which ties Mathieu for the most guaranteed money given to a safety. Smith and McCourty are guaranteed $28.5 million of their salaries, while Thomas is guaranteed $25.7 million, of the $40 million he signed for.
Last season, Berry played under the franchise tag that paid him $10.8 million. Berry was very adamant that he wasn’t going to play under the one-year tender again in 2017, so that ultimately pressed both sides to reach common ground on a long-term agreement.
The deal for Berry is especially rewarding considering what’s he fought through to get to this point. He missed much of the 2014 season after being diagnosed with lymphoma, but after undergoing treatment, he was cleared to return to football in July 2015, and once again rose to the top among the NFL’s elite safeties.
The 28-year-old Berry racked up 88 total tackles in 2016 to go with 9 pass deflections, 4 interceptions, and 1 forced fumble. 2 of Berry’s 4 interceptions were returned for touchdowns, bringing his career touchdown total to 5.
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