Chiefs Prepared To Tag L’Jarius Sneed, Grant CB Permission To Seek Trade

1:46pm: No tag has been applied yet,’s Ian Rapoport notes (video link), adding the Chiefs are following through on the trade component regarding Sneed. They have given the emerging cornerback permission to seek a trade. The Super Bowl champs remain prepared to tag Sneed, but they might view assets obtained in a trade as more valuable.

In addition to the Ford and Clark tag-and-trade maneuvers under Reid, the Chiefs have benefited from the cost-controlled cogs brought in via the Tyreek Hill trade. The Chiefs, who created $12MM in cap space by releasing Marquez Valdes-Scantling today, may well be readying to clear the decks for a bigger Jones offer. They are cautiously optimistic on retaining Jones, per’s James Palmer. Either way, Sneed’s status as part of the 2024 roster appears a bit less certain now.

FEBRUARY 28, 9:06am: The Chiefs are believed to have gone through with the rumored tag, according to Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz. This will place a $19.8MM cap hold on Kansas City’s payroll, but it ensures Sneed will not reach the market. The Chiefs will keep their focus on a Jones deal, knowing they can revisit Sneed talks later due to the tag.

FEBRUARY 27: Shortly after Brett Veach indicated the Chiefs are likely to use their franchise tag this year, the expected recipient emerged. The Chiefs are preparing to tag L’Jarius Sneed,’s Jeremy Fowler reports.

A Sneed tag will cost the Chiefs $19.8MM, but they are not committed to carrying that lofty cap number on their books this year. The team has informed the standout cornerback it would be OK working out a trade if an extension cannot be reached, Fowler adds, noting Sneed is onboard with that plan. Kansas City will have until July 15 to extend Sneed, though tag-and-trade maneuvers can take place after that date.

[RELATED: 2024 NFL Franchise Tag Candidates]

A tag will only be applied if the Chiefs cannot reach a long-term deal with the fifth-year corner, The Athletic’s Dianna Russini tweets. Teams have until 3pm CT on March 5 to apply tags, giving the Chiefs a week to negotiate an extension. Doing so would bolster their chances of keeping Chris Jones, as a Sneed extension would reduce his 2024 cap hit compared to a tag. As for Jones, the team is still working on a deal. Veach said (via CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones) they will meet with Jones’ camp tonight, but the sides have been at this since last summer.

Jones, 29, is less than two weeks from being free to speak with other teams as a free agent. The Chiefs are aiming to re-sign their top defender, but after tagging him in 2020, a second tag had been viewed as an unrealistic scenario. But this will ensure the Chiefs keep one of their two impact defenders off the market. The Jones matter could become a seminal moment as the Chiefs assemble their 2024 roster — which will be tasked with completing the first threepeat in the Super Bowl era — but it would have cost the team more than $32MM to tag the perennial All-Pro defensive tackle.

While the Chiefs trading Sneed would obviously hurt their defense, it would not be out of character based on the team’s Andy Reid-era moves at corner. Although Kansas City gave Sean Smith a midlevel deal in Reid’s first offseason in charge, they have shied away from paying corners since. The team traded Marcus Peters in 2018 and let starters Steven Nelson, Kendall Fuller and Charvarius Ward respectively depart during the 2019, 2020 and 2022 offseasons.

Sneed, 27, being tagged and then traded would mark a new chapter associated with the Chiefs’ penchant for making corners one-contract players. But this situation also could produce a pivot from the two-time reigning champs, signaling the organization may value a corner enough for a big-ticket extension. It could double as an effort to signal to a player like Trent McDuffie, who remains on a rookie contract, the Chiefs are not committed to letting CBs walk after their rookie deals expire. Both Sneed and McDuffie stood out during what became a defense-powered Chiefs championship season, and as of now, the young tandem will be poised to play together again in 2024.

A trade would be a fascinating play here. The Bears have long been rumored to be ready to tag Jaylon Johnson, though the sides are still negotiating ahead of the next week’s deadline. Chicago indeed tagging Johnson would then become a coveted commodity in a trade; both CBs being off the market would benefit the next wave of FA corners, with Fuller among them.

The Chiefs have gone to the tag-and-trade well before. They were on the receiving end off a Matt Cassel tag-and-trade in 2009; 10 years later, the team completed two tag-and-trade transactions in one offseason. After tagging Dee Ford and sending him to San Francisco, Kansas City acquired franchise-tagged defensive end Frank Clark from Seattle.

Tuesday’s news will put a Sneed swap in play, though it would be interesting to see the Chiefs both open to trading Sneed and being close to letting Jones hit the market. The Chiefs had a Clark deal in place upon trading for him; a Sneed trade could well involve another team having a contract in place as well, Fowler adds.

Asked to patrol the slot earlier in his career, Sneed shifted to a boundary role later. This brought positive results, elevating the former fourth-round pick’s stock. Last season, Sneed delivered an impact performance, regularly shadowing No. 1 wide receivers and allowing just a 56.2 passer rating as the closest defender. His goal-line strip of Zay Flowers stalled the Ravens’ momentum, helping the Chiefs hold on in the AFC championship game. Sneed has not yet garnered an All-Pro nod or a Pro Bowl honor, but he has now started for two Super Bowl-winning teams and been a regular defender in three Super Bowls.

Sneed stands to follow Tee Higgins among tagged players this year. The Chiefs do have McDuffie and two other 2022 draftees — Joshua Williams, Jaylen Watson — at corner. This younger crop and Kansas City’s past actions at corner would not make a trade a surprise.

Sneed also questioned whether the Chiefs would have enough money to pay both he and Jones. Before a Sneed tag is applied, the Chiefs will need to make moves to create cap space. They hold just more than $16MM. This tag’s near-$20MM cap hold will obviously make it more difficult to re-sign Jones, as teams will be watching to see if the future Hall of Fame defender will become available when the legal tampering period opens March 11.

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