Chiefs trading CB L’Jarius Sneed to Titans for 2025 3rd-round pick, 2024 7th-round swap: Report

By Dianna Russini, Mark Puleo, Larry Holder, Nate Taylor and Joe Rexrode

The Kansas City Chiefs are trading cornerback L’Jarius Sneed to the Tennessee Titans in exchange for a 2025 third-round pick and a 2024 seventh-round pick swap, ESPN reported Friday. The trade is pending a physical for Sneed, per the report.

Multiple other teams were interested in acquiring the ascending cornerback, who has played a key role in multiple Chiefs’ Super Bowl runs. A deal with Tennessee nearly materialized last week but fell through at the last hour.

The Chiefs had placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Sneed earlier this month after a long-term deal could not be reached with the 27-year-old. The Chiefs locked up fellow defensive star Chris Jones on a record five-year deal worth $158.75 million, including $60 million guaranteed, on Sunday.

Sneed, who was drafted by Kansas City in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, just finished the final year of his rookie contract. He combined with All-Pro corner Trent McDuffie to power the Chiefs secondary, which allowed just 3,001 passing yards (fourth fewest in the league) and 19 passing touchdowns in 2023.

The Titans’ defense ranked 16th in points allowed and 18 in yards allowed in 2023, surrendering 3,866 passing yards and managing just six interceptions, the fewest in the NFL.

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How Sneed stacks up

Sneed showed his potential during his rookie season by only yielding a 54.2 opposing passer rating, via Stathead, during nine games (six starts) in 2020. His rates were solid once becoming a full-time starter with a 91.9 mark in 2021 and an 84.2 rating in 2022.

Then Sneed put it all together in 2023 with a 56.2 rating and a stingy 51.0 completion percentage when targeted.

Here’s a look at the top cornerbacks from 2023 regarding opposing passer rating. Opposing completion percentages and interceptions are also included for these players:

There’s little doubt that Sneed belongs in the conversation of top cornerbacks in the NFL. — Larry Holder, NFL senior writer

Why did the Chiefs trade Sneed?

From the moment the Chiefs placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Sneed, this was always the most logical conclusion for the team and the player. Sneed, a four-year veteran, has built a reputation as one of the league’s best cornerbacks, a defender capable of smothering an opposing offense’s top receiver. The Chiefs, understandably though, wanted to receive draft picks for Sneed rather than just letting him join another team as the top player at his position in free agency.

But this level of compensation for executing the trade is likely not what general manager Brett Veach and coach Andy Reid anticipated. Almost four weeks ago, during the NFL combine, the Chiefs essentially notified every team that Sneed was available on the trade market. At the time, the Chiefs were seeking at least a second-round pick for Sneed.

This trade, though, was necessary for the Chiefs for another reason, too: They needed to create additional salary-cap space. Entering Friday, the Chiefs were projected to have just $7.6 million in cap space, ranking 28th in the league, according to Over the Cap. Trading Sneed creates $19.8 million in cap space, helping the Chiefs pursue their needs at left tackle, defensive end, receiver and running back. Without Sneed, the Chiefs still have three starting-caliber players in Trent McDuffie, Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson. — Nate Taylor, Chiefs staff writer

What’s next for the Chiefs?

Another task for Veach is solidifying the Chiefs’ offensive line by acquiring a veteran left tackle, a player who can start and protect the blind side of quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The move would allow Wanya Morris, a second-year player, to continue to develop for the role in 2025. The best options at the position are Tyron Smith, Duane Brown and David Bakhtiari. — Taylor

Titans have their best corner group … ever?

Sneed, free-agent signee Chidobe Awuzie and returning slot corner Roger McCreary make up the best corner group on paper this franchise has had since it moved to Tennessee. And the Titans are invested in keeping that trio together as foundational pieces of a defense that still has glaring holes elsewhere.

The Titans still need more help up front and at edge, inside linebacker and safety. Those corners, Jeffery Simmons, Harold Landry and Amani Hooker make up the new core.

If the Titans can draft a starting left tackle and hit some of those needs, in tandem with the offensive adds they’ve made, this could be a competitive roster in 2024. — Joe Rexrode, Titans senior writer

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(Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images)

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