Eric Berry, Chiefs finish deal that makes him NFL's highest-paid safety

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Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry finally got his long-term deal.

Berry, who played under the franchise tag last season and said he would not play under the tag in 2017, has the stability he wanted. The Chiefs and Berry signed a six-year, $78 million deal that would make him the highest-paid safety in the NFL, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The Chiefs made the news official Tuesday afternoon.

It is an important step for the Chiefs, not just to have Berry under contract for the foreseeable future, but also so they can use the franchise tag on another defensive cornerstone. Defensive tackle Dontari Poe’s contract had expired, and he would have been one of the most coveted players on the free-agent market. Now it seems like a good bet that the Chiefs will use the franchise tag on him, and ensure they won’t lose either Poe or Berry.

Berry is one of the best safeties in the NFL. He was tremendous last season, with 77 tackles and four interceptions. His interception return on a two-point conversion against the Atlanta Falcons for a 29-28 win – after he returned an interception for a touchdown earlier in the game – was one of the highlights of the 2016 season.

Berry also has one of the most inspirational stories in the NFL. Berry battled cancer in 2014, then returned to make the Pro Bowl and be named All-Pro in 2015. He followed that up with another Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection in 2016.

The Chiefs didn’t want to take a step back after a 12-4 season that included an AFC West championship. Locking up Berry was very important to maintain that momentum. It probably means they won’t lose Poe either.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!