Chiefs $158 Million Star’s 2-Word Reaction to L’Jarius Sneed’s Trade

The Kansas City Chiefs entered the offseason knowing two of their best defensive players were hitting free agency. While cornerback L’Jarius Sneed was coming off a career-best season, keeping superstar Chris Jones was the top priority.

Report: Chiefs pick up contract option on star DT Chris Jones | Reuters

The Chiefs re-signed Chris Jones to a five-year, $158.57 million extension, making him the defensive tackle with the highest average salary in NFL history. The Chiefs placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on Sneed, a one-year, $19.8 million deal.

Speaking to reporters at the NFL Combine last month, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said his “goal and intent” was to keep both players. However, Sneed made it clear he wasn’t taking a pay cut. At age 27, this was his best shot to bag the biggest contract possible. With Jones locked in, figuring out a long-term extension for Sneed was an impossible task for the Chiefs.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news on March 22 that Kansas City agreed to trade Sneed to the Tennessee Titans. Following the announcement, Jones sent a brief message to his former teammate.

“@jay__sneed blessings brotha,” Jones posted on X.

In exchange for Sneed, the Chiefs received a 2025 third-rounder, and in a 2024 seventh-round swap, the 221st overall pick, the highest of the Titans’ three seventh-rounders. Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz reported that Sneed agreed to a four-year, $76 million deal, with $55 million guaranteed.

While it’s a heartbreaking goodbye, retaining Jones, the backbone of Steve Spagnuolo’s defense was crucial for a legit run at a Super Bowl three-peat.

“He’s at the top of the list,” Veach admitted at the NFL Combine. “Love Chris… That’s certainly a guy we want back and love and want to see him finishing his career here in Kansas City.”

NFL Analysts Strongly Disagree Over the Chiefs’ Decision to Franchise Tag L’Jarius Sneed in the First Place

While Chiefs Kingdom held out hope Veach would figure out a way to re-sign Jones and extend Jones, a trade always seemed imminent. However, it was largely believed the Chiefs would get at least a second-rounder in the exchange.

After Kansas City accepted a third-rounder, a strong debate emerged over the Chiefs tagging Sneed in the first place.

“3 Yards Per Carry” co-host Chris Kouffman posted, “Chiefs have had $19.8 million tied up in Sneed’s franchise tag all this time, money they couldn’t use in free agency. Only to end up getting the same pick they’d have gotten via compensatory system if they just him walk without a tag. Franchising Sneed backfired on KC badly.”

However, comp picks are not guaranteed. Fox Sports’ Geoff Schwartz posted, “Criticize the Chiefs for what? They didn’t get their preferred 2nd round pick in the trade. The horror! The comp discussion is dumb because they sign enough players to cancel out comp picks and this pick is better than the comp pick.”

Several fans complained that keeping Sneed on the tag for a year was more valuable than whoever they sign with that money. Pro Football Focus’ Brad Speilberger countered, “The $19.8M in cash/cap for 2024 (and not paying at all beyond 2024) is how Kansas City will sustain their dynasty for longer. We really learned nothing from the Patriots.”

The Chiefs Already Have L’Jarius Sneed’s Replacement Under Contract

Trent McDuffie

One of the major reasons the Chiefs felt comfortable trading Sneed, they already have a starting-caliber cornerback on the roster. Trent McDuffie is locked into his $13.9 million rookie contract for two more years.

Last season, McDuffie recorded 80 tackles, 7 passes defensed, 5 forced fumbles and 3 sacks. He added another 12 tackles, 7 passes defensed, and 1 fumble recovery in the postseason.

Sneed tallied 78 total tackles, 14 passes defensed, and 2 interceptions in 2023. In playoffs, he registered 17 tackles, 3 passes defensed, and 1 forced fumble. Together, they formed perhaps one of the strongest cornerback duos in the league.

However, the Chiefs also have strong depth at the position with Jaylen Watson and Joshua Williams.

The Chiefs had $7.6 million in cap space before Sneed was traded. Once the exchange clears, Kansas City can use the extra cash to maybe reunite with two of their own free agents. Re-signing defensive end Mike Danna is predicted to be their “first call.”

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