The Kansas City Chiefs are on the verge of becoming the first repeat Super Bowl winners in nearly two decades. Even if the team achieves NFL history, however, the Chiefs’ front office will quickly need to turn its attention to the 2024 NFL offseason.
While Kansas City reached the Super Bowl with one of the best NFL defenses, it will be hard to replicate that next season. The Chiefs are poised to lose multiple starters and additional role players on the defensive side of the ball to NFL free agency.
With limited cap space and the ability to use the franchise tag just once, there’s only so much Kansas City can do. However, it appears standout cornerback L’Jarius Sneed could be one of the team’s top defenders who gets paid this offseason.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Chiefs are very interested in retaining Sneed for the 2024 season and beyond. While contract extension talks before the season went nowhere, Sneed’s improvement this year and a belief from defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo that Sneed is “‘indispensable’ make it more likely he returns to Kansas City.
- L’Jarius Sneed stats: 14 pass deflections, 2 interceptions, 51% completion rate allowed, 56.1 QB rating allowed when targeted in coverage
Complicating matters for the Chiefs’ front office will be the cost. Placing the franchise tag on All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones is cost-prohibitive. If Kansas City wants to use the franchise tag on Sneed, the belief is it will cost in the range of $19 to $20 million fully guaranteed.
In Spagnuolo’s blitz-heavy defense, it is paramount to have cornerbacks he can rely on. After thriving as a nickel corner in previous seasons, Kansas City shifted Sneed to play outside for a majority of his snaps in 2023 and he played at an extremely high level.
Of course, placing the franchise tag on Sneed means devoting $20 million of cap space to one cornerback and it will also allow for Jones to become an unrestricted free agent. However, Kansas City has to secure at least one of its top defenders for the 2024 season as the most cap-friendly plan is tagging Sneed and then hoping Jones signs a contract extension.