Eric Berry doesn’t want to leave Kansas City.

The free-agent-to-be said he hopes to remain a Chief in 2017 and beyond.

“I hope so,” Berry said, via the Kansas City Star. “I think my agent had a conversation yesterday … It’s early.”

The Chiefs franchise tagged Berry last season, paying him $10.8 million, but never locked down a long-term deal. K.C. could franchise the 28-year-old again, which would cost around $13 million.

The exorbitant salary-cap hit by tagging Berry isn’t the only factor for the Chiefs to consider when making that decision. Dontari Poe is also set to be a free agent, leaving the team with a potential dilemma if they can’t get one signed before free agency.

The Chiefs also currently only have $4.7 million in cap space for 2017, per OverTheCap.com, which could lead to some tough decisions for the K.C. brass to make — the money issues are one reason many believe Jamaal Charles won’t be back next season, certainly not at his current salary.

Potentially losing Berry would be a devastating blow for a Chiefs defense that can be a stingy, dangerous group when healthy. Berry, a playmaker versus the run and the pass, keys the entire unit. The back-to-back first-team All-Pro safety displayed his difference-making ability with a ridiculously good game in a win over the Super Bowl-bound Atlanta Falcons in Week 13.

Berry leaving would create a Vredefort Crater-sized hole in the Chiefs‘ secondary.

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