Eric Berry didn't receive his long-term deal, so the Chiefs reportedly won't be welcoming their star safety along with the rest of their roster when players are expected to report to training camp Friday. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported on Tuesday that Berry won't show up for the start of camp.
If he does hold out, he won't be forced to pay any fines. Berry has yet to sign the franchise tag, which would net him roughly $10.8 million this season but offers no long-term security.
"Perhaps this is a situation where Eric Berry shows up late into camp, but he's going to train, he'll be ready for the season," Rapoport said, according to NFL.com. "He's just going to do it on his own time for the time being."
Berry and the team could still negotiate a one-year deal that pays Berry more than the franchise tag. And remember: the Chiefs can always rescind the tag, which should sound familiar. Earlier this offseason, the Panthers franchise-tagged Josh Norman only to rescind the tag after the two sides couldn't reach an agreement on a contract. Norman eventually landed in Washington.
If you're wondering how things got to this point, you're not alone. When the Chiefs tagged Berry in March, pretty much the entire football world figured the two sides would reach a long-term agreement before the July 15 deadline.
I'm told the #Chiefs plan to tag safety Eric Berry. Both sides interested in working toward a long-term deal.— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) March 1, 2016
He was fresh off a season that earned him the Comeback Player of the Year award, a Pro Bowl spot, and first-team All-Pro honors. He did all of that after beating cancer. He's one of the best safeties in the league. He's still only 27. It almost made too much sense for the Chiefs to reward his improbable return to the field and secure him for the long-term.
Instead, contract talks reportedly got ugly. The deadline came and passed without an agreement.
"This is business and, boy, did the Chiefs stick to business on this one," NFL Network's Mike Garafolo said at the time. "They weren't just about to hand this guy a deal in which they felt they were going to be overpaying because of everything that he went through. This was hard negotiating at times and, in fact, we had a couple of sources ... tell us that during negotiations the Chiefs wanted Berry to pay for a disability insurance policy that would have named the team as a beneficiary. Given everything that he's been through, that didn't go over so well."
Now, a holdout is reportedly coming. That holdout probably won't extend into the regular season, but that doesn't make the situation -- formerly a feel-good story -- any less ugly.