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Massive Chris Jones Deal Likely Means L’Jarius Sneed is Leaving KC



Pittsburgh Steelers CB L'Jarius Sneed

With the Kansas Chiefs reaching an agreement with five-time Pro-Bowl defensive tackle Chris Jones on a record 5-year deal that includes $95 million guaranteed, it seems unlikely that they’ll be able to keep cornerback L’Jarius Sneed long-term. The Chiefs just don’t have enough money to go around as they have a ton invested into their Big 3 — Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Jones.

The Chiefs officially placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Sneed this past Monday ahead of Tuesday’s deadline. With the tag, the Chiefs are offering Sneed a one-year deal for $19.8 million, but it doesn’t seem likely that he will play in 2024 under that contract.

Kansas City general manager Brett Veach said during the 2024 NFL Combine that it’s the Chiefs’ desire to sign Sneed to a long-term contract extension. By tagging him, the Chiefs prevent Sneed from hitting the open free agent market.

“Hopefully we’re able to figure something out,” Veach said. “But every free agency is different, unique and crazy.”

If the Chiefs are unable to sign Sneed to a long-term extension, they do not have a desire to see him play out the 2024 season under the franchise tag, and would instead prefer to trade him. To that end, Veach has given Sneed’s representatives permission to seek a trade with another team, according to a report by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Rapoport said that the Chiefs are seeking a second-round draft pick in exchange for the rights to Sneed.

Nick Farabaugh of Steelers Now reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the teams that have reached out to the Chiefs about acquiring Sneed. The Steelers would be able to negotiate an extension with Sneed after trading for him, or he could play under the tag in 2024 and become a free agent in 2025. Sneed could also refuse to sign his tag and sit out the season, like Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell did in 2018.

And while the ask is a second-round pick, L’Jarius Sneed has a complicating factor that could throw a curveball in everything.

According to Tony Pauline, Sneed suffered a knee injury in the season that forced him to trudge through the rest of the season, and that could raise significant questions in trade talks.

“I have learned from numerous sources that Sneed has been dealing with a knee injury that prevented him from practicing for long stretches last season,” Pauline wrote. “This type of medical issue will surely raise red flags for any team wanting to employ Sneed with a big-money contract. Any trade will certainly hinge on an examination of the injury.”