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Chiefs Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed has a Free Agent Preference

One of the most significant question marks for the Kansas City Chiefs this off-season revolves around their starting cornerback, L’Jarius Sneed. With Chris Jones in the fold, Sneed becomes a high priority for the Chiefs. On Tuesday, Sneed spoke to reporters and clarified that he’d prefer to stay in Kansas City.

NFL negotiations aren’t always easy. The Kansas City Chiefs spent nine months attempting to sign Defensive Tackle Chris Jones and took many turns.  Ultimately, the two sides concluded that business Saturday evening, and now General Manager Brett Veach must do the same with L’Jarius Sneed.

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There is little doubt that, despite the NFL accolades, Sneed is the best cover cornerback in the league. Since becoming a regular on the field in his rookie season four years ago, Sneed has evolved and excelled under the tutelage of Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

With that success, the former fourth-round draft pick, who earned roughly $1 Million in 2023, wants financial security for himself and his family. On Tuesday, while speaking at an event for Big Brothers and Big Sisters, he clarified that he wanted to remain a Kansas City Chief and to make a run at a three-peat.

“Two is legendary, but three? You never get tired of getting rings. Hopefully, I’m with the Chiefs. Hopefully, I’m still here, and we can go back and repeat,” Sneed told reporters on Tuesday.

Since Jones signed his mega-deal, there has been growing sentiment that Kansas City could work out a contract with Sneed. On Saturday, at a signing event in Columbia, Missouri, he was also optimistic about something getting worked out.

To ensure that Sneed doesn’t go anywhere, General Manager Brett Veach placed the Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag on him. That means his agency, the St. Louis Group, can speak to other NFL teams about a prospective contract for their client and potential draft compensation, allowing Sneed to move zip codes.

Yet, the Chiefs hold all the cards, and from the trades proposed to date, teams aren’t even in the ballpark regarding what Veach deems fair in draft compensation.

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On Monday, the Detroit Lions made a deal with Tampa Bay that sent the Bucs a 2024 third-round pick in exchange for cornerback Carlton Davis. The Bucs also sent the Lions a pair of sixth-round picks in 2024 and 2025. This deal had specific cap implications for both teams, but Veach would not have made it.

Sneed admitted that waiting for news on his future is crazy and that he lacks sleep; thanks to his newborn daughter, it struck me how calm he appeared with what might happen next.

Still, given that he wants to remain in Kansas City, Veach will likely need to be as creative with his offer as he was with Jones’s new contract. Regardless, Sneed counts $19.8 million against the 2024 salary cap. With the new league set to begin Wednesday at 3:00 PM CST, the Chiefs are roughly $5.7 million over the cap.

Unlike the contract talks with Jones last Spring and Summer, which seemed rigid, Veach and the Katz Brother ultimately found common ground. However, the overriding factor in the negotiations was Jones’s making it clear throughout the entire process that he never intended to wear another NFL uniform.

Granted, Sneed hasn’t said those exact words, but it was clear he prefers to stay. If both sides are willing, they may strike a deal between now and training camp.

Until then, teams can approach Veach about a trade in the interim, but I think he wants to be overwhelmed with an offer to let go of the team’s best secondary player.

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