Grading the L’Jarius Sneed trade: Titans win big; what were Chiefs thinking?

The Kansas City Chiefs traded star cornerback L’Jarius Sneed to the Tennessee Titans for a 2025 third-round draft pick. The teams also swapped seventh-rounders in 2024.

Why they made the trade

The Chiefs used the franchise tag on Sneed with the understanding that a trade was a possibility. As is the case with nearly every franchise-tagged player, no teams were going to surrender two first-round picks to sign Sneed under the tag terms, so a trade for lesser compensation was always more likely.

The Chiefs weren’t prepared to pay Sneed among the top cornerbacks in the league, so they essentially let him walk. Meanwhile, the Titans have been loading up this month, and a top-flight corner in a division with talented quarterbacks will be a valuable asset.


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Trade grade (Titans): A

This is a massive win for the Titans. They land an elite player at a premium position for a future third-round pick. Sneed, 27, is just entering his prime and should make an impact for several years — assuming they lock him down with a long-term contract, which should only be a matter of time.

It’s also nice to take advantage of having quarterback Will Levis on his rookie contract. With Snead, wide receiver Calvin Ridley, running back Tony Pollard, linebacker Kenneth Murray and some offensive line additions, the Titans are working to accelerate their rebuild around a young quarterback.

Trade grade (Chiefs): F

Not even Eric Stonestreet can find a rosy way to paint this one.

While it’s understandable the Chiefs couldn’t find room for Sneed on the books with a long-term deal, he would have been more valuable to them on the roster during his franchise year.

Not just that, but it’s likely he would have helped the Chiefs get a 2026 third-round compensatory pick if he walked in free agency a year from now. So the Chiefs gave up a season of Sneed for a better third-round pick a year earlier. That logic would work for some teams, but it doesn’t make as much sense for a perennial Super Bowl favorite amid a dynasty.

Sure, the Chiefs will be fine because Patrick Mahomes will continue to be Patrick Mahomes. The superstar quarterback somehow took his game to an even higher level last season to overcompensate for some flaws on the roster, and he’ll be tasked to do it again in 2024. They’re also banking on defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo to continue working wonders for his unit.

Trading Sneed seemed likely for quite a while. But giving him up for a future third-round pick doesn’t add up.

(Photo: Ryan Kang / Getty Images)

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