L’Jarius Sneed

AFC Contract Details: Texans, Sneed, Barrett

Here are some details on recently agreed upon contracts from around the AFC:

  • Myles Bryant, CB/PR (Texans): One year, $1.75MM. According to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, Bryant’s new deal in Houston includes a guaranteed amount of $800K comprised of $500K of his 2024 base salary (worth a total of $1.2MM) and a $300K signing bonus. Bryant can earn an additional $250K throughout the season with $14,705 per game active roster bonuses.
  • C.J. Henderson, CB (Texans): One year, $2MM. Wilson reports that Henderson’s contract includes a guaranteed amount of $500K consisting of a $300K signing bonus, like Bryant, and $200K of his 2024 base salary (worth a total of $1.4MM). Henderson will also get a per game active roster bonus, but his will be $17,647 per game for a potential season total of $300K.
  • L’Jarius Sneed, CB (Titans): Four years, $76.4MM. We already knew quite a bit about this deal when it was reported, though some of the figures weren’t completely accurate. While the reported number for guaranteed money was initially $55MM, it’s actually going to be $51.5MM. Per Mike Florio of NBC Sports, Sneed was guaranteed $44MM at signing consisting of Sneed’s $20MM signing bonus, his 2024 and 2025 base salaries of $4.32MM and 18.32MM, and per game active roster bonuses that equal up to $680K in each of the first two years. The per game active roster bonuses are listed as “fully guaranteed,” but they still must be earned with Sneed’s consistent presence on the active roster. Labeling a roster bonus as fully guaranteed usually means that it is prorated like a signing bonus. In theory, if Sneed misses any games in those two seasons, he’ll be forced to pay back a portion of those prorated bonuses. The remaining $7.5MM of guaranteed money comes from Sneed’s 2026 base salary of $15.15MM. His 2026 salary has $11MM guaranteed for injury at signing, which is likely where the $55MM figure came from, but effectively, the contract’s guarantees stand at $51.5MM. Additionally, Sneed’s per game active roster bonus potential season-totals increase in 2026 and 2027 to $850K apiece.
  • Shaquil Barrett, OLB (Dolphins): One year, $7MM. We originally reported on Barrett’s one-year deal being worth a maximum of $9MM, which is still true with incentives, but thanks to Cameron Wolfe of NFL Network, now we have the details. Barrett’s new deal in Miami has an actual base value of $7MM. It includes a guaranteed amount of $6.75MM consisting of a $5.54MM signing bonus and the entirety of Barrett’s 2024 base salary (worth $1.21MM). Barrett can also earn an additional $250K through per game active roster bonuses of $14,705 apiece. Due to tight cap space, though, the Dolphins had to add four void years onto the backend of Barrett’s deal. Whether or not he’s on the roster, he’ll carry a cap hit of $4.43MM in 2025 and $1.11MM in each of the following three seasons.

Chiefs To Trade CB L’Jarius Sneed To Titans

MARCH 26: Sneed will end up with a bit more on his second contract, with NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport noting it will be a $76.4MM deal for the former Chiefs standout. The $19.1MM AAV will place Sneed sixth among cornerbacks. A $20MM signing bonus will comprise part of Sneed’s guarantee package; the Titans can spread that figure over the life of the contract.

MARCH 22: Despite recent reports that a previous trade agreement fell through after the Titans were unable to reach an extension agreement for Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the deal will come to pass.

Tennessee is finalizing a trade that will send Kansas City a 2025 third-round pick and will swap the teams’ seventh-round picks in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft in order to acquire the 27-year-old defender.

The Chiefs had applied the franchise tag to Sneed in order to avoid him hitting unrestricted free agency following the expiration of his rookie deal. Despite the move to keep him under contract, Kansas City didn’t display much of a desire to keep Sneed on the roster in 2024. The team is extremely familiar with the tag-and-trade maneuver having used it to send Dee Ford to San Francisco and acquiring Frank Clark from Seattle under similar circumstances.

Kansas City was unwilling to meet the salary desires that Sneed had for an extension, so it made it clear to the rest of the league that its star cornerback was available for the right price. The Vikings, Colts, Patriots, Lions, Falcons, Jaguars, and Dolphins were all reported as teams to show an initial interest, though several sought other options or simply opted to cease communication with the Chiefs about a deal.

Tennessee took advantage of having the third-most salary cap space in the league, signing Sneed to what Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report reports will be a four-year, $76MM extension. If those terms are correct, his new deal would match recently extended Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson‘s in length and overall value. The main difference that Schultz gives us is that while Johnson’s deal included $51.4MM of guarantees, Sneed’s will have $55MM of guaranteed money.

The Titans were reportedly the only team that got close enough, reaching a point at which a deal was essentially ready to go last week, but without being able to reach an agreement on an extended contract from Sneed, the deal seemingly fell through. Following their failed efforts to acquire Sneed, the Titans pivoted, signing free agent cornerback Chidobe Awuzie and using the money set aside for a Sneed extension to sign wide receiver Calvin Ridley.

Sneed comes to Tennessee as the obvious new starter alongside Roger McCreary and Awuzie, replacing Sean Murphy-Bunting, who signed a three-year, $25.5MM deal that sent him to Arizona. The Titans also lost their other outside cornerback when Kristian Fulton signed a one-year contract with the Chargers. Sneed and Awuzie should take over roles as the main outside corners, allowing McCreary to continue to excel in the slot.

As for the Chiefs, while they’ll certainly miss having a playmaker like Sneed in their secondary, they have to feel pretty good about their position moving forward. Once the trade goes through, the totality of Sneed’s $19.8MM franchise tag salary will come of their salary cap, granting much needed cap space to a team that ranked 28th in the NFL before the deal.

As for the draft capital return, in addition to the seventh-round swap, the team will be gauging the success of their trade on how poorly Tennessee performs in 2024. The 2025 third-rounder will obviously come before the late-third-round compensatory pick that Sneed was likely to return as an unrestricted free agent. If the Titans have a poor showing next season, though, they could return an early-third-round pick as a result of today’s deal.

Without Sneed, Kansas City still has to feel pretty good about its talent at cornerback. Three third-year players will return to lead the position room in 2024. In the 2022 NFL Draft, the Chiefs selected Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie in the first round, Fayetteville State cornerback Joshua Williams in the fourth round, and Washington State cornerback Jaylen Watson in the seventh. Today, it views all three as starting-caliber players in their third year.

Specializing in the slot, McDuffie ranked as Pro Football Focus’ fourth-best cornerback in the NFL in 2023. Williams wasn’t far behind as the 26th-best, and Watson graded out at 46th. Including those three and Sneed, the team touts an impressive record evaluating draft-eligible cornerbacks. If they feel the need to add bodies to the room, look to the draft as the likely source of their next great cornerback.

Titans’ Trade For CB L’Jarius Sneed Falls Through; League Interest Cooling

Two weeks ago, we went into some detail on the list of teams interested in trading for Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. The Titans were one of those teams, and it appears the team was all but set to trade for Kansas City’s top cornerback before one detail sank the deal. According to Nate Taylor of The Athletic, the inability of Tennessee to reach an agreement on a multi-year extension for Sneed kept the trade from going through.

The Chiefs avoided allowing Sneed to test unrestricted free agency by applying the franchise tag on him earlier this month. While every now and then, a franchise tag application can be the end of the story, keeping a key player under contract for one additional, high-paying year, often times, the tag is meant to buy time as the player continues to seek a long-term contract. With Sneed, that meant two options: seeking a long-term contract with Kansas City or getting traded to another team that may be more open to giving him the deal he desires.

The Chiefs are very familiar with the tag-and-trade maneuver. They have utilized it themselves to send Dee Ford to the 49ers while also taking advantage of it to bring Frank Clark from Seattle. Right now, it appears that Kansas City is unwilling to meet Sneed where he’s wanting to be in terms of a contract extension. As a result, they have essentially informed every team in the NFL that Sneed is available for a trade.

With the Chiefs hearing offers on Sneed, a number of teams reached out to express interest. We noted the Vikings, Colts, Titans, Patriots, Lions, Falcons, Jaguars, and Dolphins as teams looking to acquire the 27-year-old. While all these teams showed initial interest, it was never clear how many had the intentions of trading for Sneed then extending him.

Sneed has made it clear that he is seeking a three- or four-year contract with an average annual value of at least $20MM, a salary that would make him the league’s third-highest-paid cornerback. While Tennessee was ready to part ways with whatever Kansas City wanted in exchange for Sneed, the Titans were apparently not ready to hand Sneed a new contract. Without a new contract, Sneed is set to play with a one-year salary of $19.8MM on the franchise tag, with every penny counting towards his team’s cap space. This provides incentive for the Chiefs or whatever team trades for him to use a new deal to lessen his salary cap impact.

The Titans apparently pivoted from the Sneed-trade to sign cornerback Chidobe Awuzie and use the extra money to sign wide receiver Calvin Ridley. The Lions traded instead for cornerback Carlton Davis. Additionally, Taylor informs that the Patriots, Vikings, and Falcons have ceased engagements with Kansas City concerning Sneed. So who else is left to vie for his services?

The Athletic’s Dianna Russini names Indianapolis as the most likely destination for Sneed at this time. The Chiefs will be wanting at least a second-round pick for Sneed, but if they can’t reach that value, they’re going to want two picks, with one of them being a third-rounder. She identifies the Colts‘ 46th, 82nd, and 117th overall picks as the ones that could entice Kansas City. On the Pat McAfee Show, ESPN’s Adam Schefter disputed Russini’s opinion, claiming that “the Colts and the Chiefs haven’t had any conversations” about a trade taking place. Stephen Holder of ESPN delved deeper claiming that, after contemplating the idea of a Sneed-trade, Indianapolis instead opted to re-sign its own players, like cornerback Kenny Moore.

As for the Chiefs, the relative inactivity around Sneed could allow them to lower Sneed’s asking price on a new deal. Sneed has expressed interest in remaining with the Chiefs multiple times. He doesn’t seem too eager to give a hometown discount, as he realizes that this is likely his best opportunity to maximize on his value, but he likes the idea of a Super Bowl three-peat and enjoyed his role as the team’s shadow corner.

Kansas City is in no rush to overpay, though. They are currently ranked 28th in cap space, according to OverTheCap.com, and they are confident in their ability to identify cornerback talent through the draft. Without Sneed, the Chiefs will return Trent McDuffie, Joshua Williams, and Jaylen Watson, three players they believe to be starting-caliber.

As the draft inches closer and closer, it’s starting to seem like one of two things will need to happen: either Kansas City is going to need to lower their asking price for Sneed in order to move him, or Sneed will need to lower his asking price for a new extension. It doesn’t sound like the Chiefs are interested in keeping Sneed on the roster in 2024, but someone will need to bend in order for him to move. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, for one, expects the team to move on from Sneed before the draft.

Suitors Emerging For Chiefs’ L’Jarius Sneed

MARCH 10: Add the Dolphins to the list of Sneed interested parties. Miami is not in good cap shape and may well lose both Christian Wilkins and Robert Hunt in free agency. But with the team cutting Xavien Howard, cornerback help will be sought. The Dolphins are believed to have looked into the prospect of acquiring Sneed, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler notes.

MARCH 6: As expected, the Chiefs were among the teams which applied the franchise tag before Tuesday’s deadline, keeping L’Jarius Sneed off the free agent market in the process. The standout corner is far from certain to remain in Kansas City, though, as a tag-and-trade maneuver is on the table.

Sneed has served as a full-time starter for nearly his entire Chiefs tenure (70 regular and postseason games), developing into a key member of the team’s vaunted secondary. The tag will cost $19.8MM in 2024, though, using up significant cap space on a team already needing a new deal for Chris Jones. The latter is the defending champions’ priority, and a re-up will not come cheaply. A long-term Sneed pact could also approach or reach the $20MM-per-year-mark his one-year tender is valued at.

Knowing Sneed could very well be on the trade block, Tyler Dragon of USA Today Sports reports seven teams have emerged as interested suitors. That list consists of the Vikings, Colts, Titans, Patriots, Lions, Falcons and Jaguars. Many of those teams are among those set to have the most spending power ahead of free agency and therefore the ones most capable of absorbing Sneed’s cap hit as it stands while working out a lucrative long-term deal.

Of course, teams like Minnesota, Indianapolis and Jacksonville could see sizable changes to their cap situations in the near future. The Vikings have two of the top pending free agents in Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter, and meeting the stated objective of retaining both will use up much of their cap space. The Colts and Jags, meanwhile, used the franchise tag on wideout Michael Pittman Jrand edge rusher Josh Allen yesterday; long-term deals with either could lower their 2024 cap figures and free up room for an aggressive Sneed pursuit.

The Falcons – presumed to be a strong Cousins suitor – will likely wait until their quarterback addition has been made before authorizing a costly move (in terms of draft capital and finances) like a Sneed acquisition. New England and Tennessee rank second and third in respective cap space as things stand, meaning those teams could outbid other suitors and immediately make a deal for the 27-year-old a priority. Detroit reportedly has cornerback at or near the top of the organization’s offseason to-do list, so a Sneed trade would come as little surprise.

With respect to compensation, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer predicts a second-round pick could be required to convince the Chiefs to green-light a trade. Losing an effective contributor will no doubt induce Kansas City to generate as many bidders as possible and land better draft capital than what a 2025 free agent departure would yield (a third-round compensatory pick the following year). With free agency one week away, it will be interesting to see how much of a market develops for Sneed if the Chiefs move forward with exploring a trade.

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.

Chiefs Expected To Tag CB L’Jarius Sneed

We’ve been hearing all week about the potential future of two of the Chiefs’ top defensive free agents. Defensive tackle Chris Jones and cornerback L’Jarius Sneed have received most of the offseason attention for the reigning Super Bowl champs. If Dianna Russini of The Athletic is right, the solution for Sneed could be here soon as Kansas City reportedly plans to tag him tomorrow.

This is not the first we’re hearing on this, but it is the first deadline we’ve gotten. First, after winning their second consecutive rings, both Jones and Sneed made it known that they wished to remain in Kansas City. This week, general manager Brett Veach informed the media that he anticipates utilizing the franchise tag this year. Later that day, reports rolled in that Sneed was the likely target of the tag but that both sides were open to a potential tag-and-trade situation if an extension was unable to be reached. Last we heard, Sneed was generating trade interest while optimism was growing around a new deal for Jones.

In today’s update, Russini informs that, while the team continues to work towards a new extension for Jones, Kansas City will officially place the franchise tag on Sneed tomorrow. If that’s the case, the Chiefs will then have until July 15 to work out an extension to keep Sneed in Missouri. Tag-and-trade maneuvers can still take place past that date, though, and the Chiefs are extremely familiar with that process, previously sending away Dee Ford and bringing in Frank Clark with that exact method.

As for the Jones part of the update, no new information here. Optimism has been growing throughout the week, and with the tag being applied to Sneed, the Chiefs will have no choice but to sign Jones to a new deal in order to keep him in red and yellow.

Growing Optimism Chiefs Will Re-Sign Chris Jones; L’Jarius Sneed Generating Trade Interest

Chris Jones balked at a Chiefs attempt to extend him on a deal far south of the Aaron Donald salary range. As the perennial All-Pro nears free agency, the team may be coming around to his price point.

Playing last season on his 2020 extension (four years, $80MM), Jones is believed to want a deal in the $30MM-per-year range, according to The Athletic’s Dianna Russini and Nate Taylor. Although the Chiefs were not prepared to go into that neighborhood to retain their top defender last year, they might be now. Growing optimism exists the sides agree to a deal before free agency, per Russini and Taylor (subscription required).

[RELATED: Chiefs Release WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling]

Jones has said he would like to stay in Kansas City, but it will be interesting — given a few factors — if the 29-year-old standout passes on testing the market. Considering Jones’ 2023 holdout, the developments on the D-tackle market over the past year and the salary cap’s $30MM-plus increase, it would be a slight surprise if the likely Hall of Fame-bound player passed on seeing what was out there. Players get hints of the market at the Combine, however, even though the legal tampering period (11am CT on March 11) represents the first instance communication with other clubs is allowed.

Jones’ holdout reached mid-September, with the eight-year veteran not reporting to the Chiefs until after their Week 1 game — a loss to the Lions. An incentive package ended up covering Jones for the fines incurred during for skipping training camp, penalties that surpassed $2MM. Jones also forfeited a $1.1MM game check by missing Week 1. His absence was noticeable, and the Chiefs brought him back into the fold with an incentive package.

The Chiefs were believed to be offering Jones $24MM per year, an AAV in the range of the Quinnen WilliamsJeffery SimmonsDexter LawrenceDaron Payne quartet that formed the top non-Donald tier at the position last year. Jones, now a five-time All-Pro, wanted Donald-level dough. He made a strong case for it again last season. The Chiefs needed a 49ers special teams miscue to tally a touchdown before overtime in Super Bowl LVIII, and a Jones rush stopped a 49ers OT drive to set up the game-winning score. Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes– and Travis Kelce-led offense took a backseat to a top-end pass defense last season, and the Jones-dependent unit led the way to a repeat championship. It is difficult to build more momentum toward a free agency windfall.

Donald was 31 when he threatened retirement and landed a three-year, $95MM Rams deal; Jones will not turn 30 until this summer. With the cap rising to $255.4MM, it would seem Donald’s $31.7MM AAV — which leads the DT market by more than $7MM — would be in reach for Jones.

With Nick Bosa scoring a $34MM-per-year pact from the 49ers, Jones is poised to do remarkably well if he hits the market. A deal that includes more than the $80MM the Steelers guaranteed T.J. Watt could well be in play. The Chiefs, who will need to make more moves (perhaps another Mahomes restructure) to create cap space before the 2024 league year opens March 13, do look to have a plan to help afford a third Jones contract. It involves bidding farewell to their other top free agent defender.

Since the report that indicated the Chiefs were preparing to tag L’Jarius Sneed but were willing to trade him emerged, Russini and Taylor indicate at least six teams have reached out about the ascending cornerback. The expectation is Sneed will end up in a tag-and-trade transaction, Sportskeeda’s Tony Pauline notes.

The Chiefs went to this well with Dee Ford in 2019, replacing him with Frank Clark. With most of Kansas City’s free agency budget going to Jones — if the franchise is to succeed in its top offseason mission — no CB replacement is likely en route. Instead, the Chiefs will likely do what they have done for most of Andy Reid‘s tenure: replace a starting corner from within. As the Marcus Peters, Steven Nelson, Kendall Fuller and Charvarius Ward exits show, the Chiefs have an M.O. when it comes to corners. Sneed is looking likely to be the latest Chiefs CB to become a one-contract player for the team.

The Chiefs, who were on the receiving end of tag-and-trade moves involving Matt Cassel (2009) and Clark (2019), are poised to pick up a quality asset for Sneed by using the tag here. And they have established a blueprint in which cornerbacks are replaceable; Jones has proven he is not.

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

1:46pm: No tag has been applied yet, NFL.com’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 NFL.com’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, ESPN.com’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.

Chiefs Expected To Use Franchise Tag

It appears at least one of the Chiefs’ top defensive free agents will be sticking around for the team’s threepeat bid. Brett Veach said (via NFL.com’s James Palmer) he anticipates using the franchise tag this year.

This prediction stands to affect Chris Jones or L’Jarius Sneed, but it probably will pertain to the younger defender. While Veach said (via AtoZsports.com’s Charles Goldman) Jones remains the team’s top priority, tagging the perennial All-Pro will be prohibitive due to the team having cuffed him back in 2020. This points to Sneed being kept off this year’s market.

[RELATED: 2024 NFL Franchise Tag Candidates]

Although last week’s news regarding the salary cap will make Sneed more expensive to tag, it will still be more than $12MM cheaper for the two-time reigning champions to keep the four-year corner off the market compared to the eight-year DT. A Sneed tag will cost $19.8MM for the Chiefs, who will need to create cap space to make this move. As of Tuesday, the Chiefs hold just more than $16MM in cap room.

Showcasing the ability to play outside and in the slot over the course of his four-year career, Sneed delivered an impact contract year. Regularly covering No. 1 wide receivers and allowing just a 56.2 passer rating as the closest defender, the former fourth-round pick was indispensable for a suddenly defense-powered Chiefs team. This did not garner Sneed an All-Pro nod or a Pro Bowl honor, to the surprise of many, but he has now started for two Super Bowl-winning teams and been a regular defender in three Super Bowls.

If the Chiefs were to let Sneed hit the market, it is possible they would need to authorize a record-setting cornerback contract — based on the cap jumping to $255.4MM and the number of teams needing CB help — to retain him. The tag number now nearly matches Jaire Alexander‘s AAV ($21MM) that still sets the bar at this position. With the Bears likely to tag Jaylon Johnson, Sneed would move into position as the top corner available if permitted to reach the market. That appears unlikely to commence. This would represent a deviation for the Chiefs, who have not placed a high priority on paying corners under Andy Reid. The team has passed on doling out second contracts to Marcus Peters, Steven Nelson, Kendall Fuller and Charvarius Ward. Sneed appears set to be an exception.

A near-$20MM Sneed cap hold will turn up the heat on the Chiefs regarding Jones, who can begin speaking with other teams March 11 — when the legal tampering period begins. Though, the Combine regularly serves as a preview for what is out there for big-name free agents. Due to the 2020 tag, it would cost the Chiefs more than $32MM to tag their top defender.

Jones and the Chiefs could not come to terms on an extension last summer, leading to the likely Hall of Famer holding out into Week 1. An incentive package — and the threat of more missed game checks — brought Jones back, and he again played the lead role on Kansas City’s defense. Jones has said he wants to stay, but the sides are running out of time.

Considering the fines Jones incurred by missing practices and then Week 1, it would surprise if he did not see what was out there by testing the market. But the Chiefs will certainly try to prevent that from happening. The team aimed to extend Jones on a deal more in line with the younger crop of DTs that formed a new second tier at the position last summer, but Jones — who played out a four-year, $80MM extension last season — aimed for a deal closer to Aaron Donald‘s $31.7MM-AAV pact. After another dominant season (and the cap’s rise), the 29-year-old star will be in strong position to score a near-Donald-level accord soon.

L’Jarius Sneed Wants To Stay With Chiefs

Chris Jones emphatically stated he is not eager to leave Kansas City. Though, the Chiefs may need to wade into uncharted waters if they want to keep their star defensive tackle off the market. Thanks to Jones being tagged in 2020, the price of a second tag would come in north of $32MM. In the franchise tag’s 31-year history, only the Ravens (Lamar Jackson, $32.4MM) have tagged a player in that neighborhood.

The tag would be a more logical option for the defending champions when it comes to L’Jarius Sneed. The cornerback tender price is expected to come in just above $18MM. But the Chiefs have been rigid at corner for most of Andy Reid‘s tenure. Sneed said during an appearance on Up & Adams he wants the Chiefs to be the team that pays him, but when pressed by host Kay Adams, the four-year veteran doubted the team had the resources to re-sign both he and Jones (video link).

[RELATED: Chiefs Engaged In Early Sneed Extension Talks]

Sneed delivered a borderline-dominant contract year for the Chiefs, regularly covering No. 1 wide receivers and allowing just a 56.2 passer rating as the closest defender. This did not garner the former fourth-round pick an All-Pro nod or a Pro Bowl honor, to the surprise of many, but he has now started for two Super Bowl-winning teams and been a regular defender in three Super Bowls.

Sneed, 27, has also shown the ability to play in the slot. Although the slot corner market remains in a strange place, Sneed has proven himself on the perimeter and will be one of the top UFAs this year — if the Chiefs let him hit the market. Kansas City holds barely $15MM in cap space, before restructures and other maneuvers inflate that total. With cornerback being one of the game’s most valuable positions, the Louisiana Tech find is close to scoring a payday that tops what his former CB teammates received in free agency.

The Chiefs have methodically kept costs low at corner since Sean Smith‘s contract came off the books nearly 10 years ago. Kansas City traded Marcus Peters in 2018. Since then, starters Steven Nelson, Kendall Fuller and Charvarius Ward have scored their paydays with other teams. Ward, who earned an All-Pro honor in his second 49ers season, signed a three-year deal worth $40.5MM. Spotrac expects Sneed to better that, projecting his second-contract AAV to come in beyond $16MM. That is top-10 cornerback money. The Chiefs going from a rookie-deal-only protocol at corner to authorizing such a pact will be asking a lot, given the success they have had with this formula.

Jones has been far more critical for Kansas City’s Steve Spagnuolo-orchestrated defensive resurgence compared to Sneed, but a reality exists in which the back-to-back champions lose both defenders. Seventh-year GM Brett Veach will aim to avoid this, but the Chiefs have younger corners who can be kept on rookie deals through at least 2025. All-Pro Trent McDuffie would anchor a post-Sneed group, and and part-time contributors Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson— respectively obtained in the 2022 fourth and seventh rounds — have supplied competent work thus far. Pro Football Focus ranked all four of Kansas City’s regular corners in the top 45 this season.

While the prospect of a Sneed tag has been floated, the Bears being set to cuff Jaylon Johnson would only benefit the impact Chiefs defender. If/when Johnson is tagged, Sneed will likely be the top CB available. The Chiefs have until March 5 to decide on unholstering their tag.