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Source: Steelers Express Interest in Chiefs CB L’Jarius Sneed

The Pittsburgh Steelers have expressed interest in Kansas City Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, according to a source.



Pittsburgh Steelers L'Jarius Sneed
Kansas City Chiefs cornerback L'Jarius Sneed (38) in action during the first half of the AFC Championship NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, in Baltimore, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024 (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)

INDIANAPOLIS — The Pittsburgh Steelers have expressed interest in Kansas City Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, a league source in Indianapolis told Steelers Now. Pittsburgh believes they need to upgrade their cornerback room, and the team sees Sneed as one of the top potential fits.

The Chiefs’ asking price is at least a second-round pick, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network  and Dianna Russini of The Athletic have reported and sources confirmed to Steelers Now. Kansas City has informed Sneed that they will  franchise tag him, unless the sides can work out an arrangement on a  long-term contract. If the Chiefs can’t sign Sneed, they play to tag and trade him according to Jordan Schultz of Bleacher-Report.

Sneed’s franchise tag contract will be a one-year deal for $19.8 million, but he is seeking a long-term contract. 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.

Kansas City general manager Brett Veach said on Tuesday at the 2024 NFL Combine that his goal is to sign Sneed to a long-term contract. If that fails, it doesn’t seem likely that the Chiefs will want Sneed to play out the 2024 season at the tag amount, considering their other major free agent, defensive tackle Chris Jones, will also cost them a lot of money this coming season. The Chiefs currently have approximately $9.2 million in offseason salary cap space.

“Certainly we want to do what we can to try to keep both those players and that’s going to be our goal and intent,” Veach said. “Hopefully we’re able to figure something out. But every free agency is different, unique and crazy. We do have one tag, and I anticipate probably using it to help us. But I think our goal is to try to get both those players done and then work down the rest of our roster.”

Pittsburgh expressed interest in Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson at the trade deadline. So, acquiring a talented cornerback is something that they have explored as recently as the middle of the season. Johnson and Sneed are the top two available players whose contracts expired after the 2023 season. The Bears are also attempting to sign Johnson to an extension. 

The deadline for the Chiefs to apply the tag to Sneed is March 5. The free agent contact period opens March 11.