Chiefs Place Franchise Tag On CB L’Jarius Sneed

One day out from the franchise tag deadline, the Chiefs have followed through with the expected move of placing the one-year tender on cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. The non-exclusive tag was applied on Monday, per a team announcement.

The move will keep Sneed off the open market, but his future with the defending champions is of course still uncertain. Kansas City was reported last week to be prepared to use the tag, but the team gave Sneed permission to seek out a trade sending him elsewhere. Now (at least temporarily) locked into a 2024 salary of $19.8MM, the standout cover man can continue that process.

To no surprise, Sneed is on the radar of interested teams looking to make a notable cornerback addition. Any suitor willing to send trade capital the Chiefs’ way would no doubt do so with a long-term arrangement worked out with the 27-year-old. Sneed has been an integral part of Kansas City’s secondary over the course of his four-year tenure, playing a major role in the team’s back-to-back Super Bowl runs the past two seasons.

The former fourth-rounder totaled five interceptions and 30 pass deflections across regular and postseason play between 2022-23. Given his age and production, Sneed would be counted on as a defensive anchor on any acquiring team, and the Chiefs could solicit several offers if a tag-and-trade is determined as the preferred direction. Any and all developments on the Sneed front will take place against the backdrop of defensive tackle Chris Jones‘ pending free agency.

The latter appears to be the Chiefs’ higher priority with respect to working out a deal for 2024 and beyond, and the sides may manage to accomplish that goal before free agency. Jones’ asking price – after a hold-out which lasted into the regular season and preceded another stellar campaign – will be a major factor in negotiations, one which both team and player hope will result in a new contract. A pact coming anywhere near the $30MM range in AAV (or even eclipsing Aaron Donald‘s market-setting $31.67MM figure) will leave fewer resources for other offseason moves, like a long-term Sneed extension.

Kansas City already has Trent McDuffie on his rookie contract, and he will remain a foundational member of the team’s defense moving forward regardless of if Sneed remains with the Chiefs or not. The latter can negotiate a multi-year deal as late as July 15 before signing the tag and playing out the season with the full $19.8MM figure landing on his team’s cap sheet in the absence of an agreement. The question of whether that team will be Kansas City will be a key one in the 2024 offseason.

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