Chiefs Trading L'Jarius Sneed Unsurprising Based on Recent History

The Chiefs trading L'Jarius Sneed shouldn't come as a shock based on how they've handled the cornerback position.
Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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L'Jarius Sneed is arguably the best cornerback in the NFL coming off a brilliant Super Bowl-winning postseason where he dominated some of the most explosive wide receivers in the league and made game-changing plays.

Yet, the Chiefs just traded him away for a minimal return. Why?

The answer lies in their past.

Over the last several years, the Chiefs have made a clear tactical decision not to pay defensive backs who made massive impacts on the team.

It started when they traded then-two-time All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters to the Rams and continued when they opted not to offer Tyrann Mathieu a contract following two All-Pro seasons with them. In 2021, they didn't re-sign Charvarious Ward, who won a Super Bowl with them and just made his first All-Pro team this past season.

Those are three outstanding defensive backs who were at or near the peak of their ability the Chiefs opted not to sign or decided to trade.

Which brings us back to Sneed. He wanted to be paid as one of the top cornerbacks in the league and reportedly will be by the Titans, who gave up a 2025 third-round pick and a 2024 seventh-round pick swap in the trade, a seemingly small return for a player of his caliber.

Sneed is still only 26 years-old and coming off the best season of his career. In the playoffs, he was even better, helping hold Tyreek Hill to 62 receiving yards, Stefon Diggs to 21 receiving yards, and Deebo Samuel to 33 receiving yards. He also caused a key goal-line fumble on Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers in the AFC Championship Game.

That's all to say, it was somewhat head-scratching when trade rumors surfaced after the Chiefs franchise-tagged him when they couldn't reach a long-term deal earlier this offseason. Yet when you think back on their past, it's not surprising at all.

They have a proven ability to scout great defensive backs and develop them internally. Cornerback Trent McDuffie, who they picked in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, is the latest example. He was named first-team All-Pro this past season and, like Sneed, is certainly elite.

McDuffie has two more years on his rookie contract and, barring a surprise, that will be extended to three when the Chiefs pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal. Sometime in the next season or two, his agent and the Chiefs will have contract negotiations and it's reasonable to assume he'll want to be paid among the best corners in the NFL.

If history has taught us anything, that might not end the way any of us expect.


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Brian Giuffra

BRIAN GIUFFRA

Brian Giuffra is the VP of Betting Content at Minute Media and has been with the company since 2016. He's a fan of the Knicks, Giants, wine and bourbon, usually consuming them in that order.