April 24, 2024

The Kansas City Chiefs began preparing for the eventual departure of cornerback L’Jarius Sneed two years ago, when they drafted Trent McDuffie in the first round and three additional cornerbacks before the 2022 draft ended.

Their strategy for life without Sneed was clear at the time, but it remains to be seen how well it was carried out. They might come to regret dealing Sneed to the Tennessee Titans for a few draft picks.

For the time being, they have received something in return rather than losing Sneed as a free agent and receiving nothing as he walks out the door. The return was not as large as the Chiefs received two years ago when they dealt Tyreek Hill.

However, given the Chiefs’ previous draft history, it is reasonable to expect at least one good player from what they obtained from the Titans, a seventh-round pick this year and a third-round pick the following season.

McDuffie, along with the other players drafted two years ago, now dominates the cornerback position. McDuffie, who was named All-Pro last season, appears to be prepared to take on the tasks that the Chiefs assigned to Sneed.

The others are Joshua Williams, Jaylen Watson, and Nazeeh Johnson. Williams, a fourth-round pick in 2022, and Watson, a seventh-round pick the same year, have already delivered for the Chiefs. Each has played a significant number of snaps over the last two seasons, with Williams looking particularly ready to start late last season.

 

Titans finalizing deal with Chiefs to acquire cornerback L'Jarius Sneed, AP  source says

 

Johnson missed all of last season after injuring his ACL during training camp, but he might be the fourth cornerback this year. The Chiefs also have Chamarri Conner, a fourth-round pick last season who played some slot cornerback as a rookie, and several developmental corners, such as Nic Jones, a seventh-round pick in 2023.

There will undoubtedly be times when the Chiefs wish they hadn’t traded Sneed, who was as consistent from start to finish as any cornerback in the NFL. He was frequently asked to cover the opponent’s top wide receiver — at least 65% of snaps seven times during the regular season, according to NFL Next Gen Stats — and performed admirably for the Chiefs.

He also contributed some major plays, the most prominent of which was the forced fumble against Ravens’ Zay Flowers in last season’s AFC Championship Game.

In 57 regular-season games, Sneed has 10 interceptions and 40 pass defenses. He has one interception and seven passes defensed in 13 postseason games.

However, the Chiefs, who are currently paying Patrick Mahomes and Chris Jones at or near the top of their positional markets, were unable to afford another.

They saw this coming two years ago.

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