Lions Named ‘Best Fit’ for Projected $54 Million Star CB

Dan Campbell L'Jarius Sneed

Getty Bleacher Report's Gary Davenport identified head coach Dan Campbell and the Detroit Lions as the best fit for potential free agent cornerback L'Jarius Sneed.

The narrative around the Detroit Lions this offseason is the team is an impactful defensive free agent away from a trip to the Super Bowl in 2024. With that in mind, Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport called the Lions the best landing spot for pending free agent cornerback L’Jarius Sneed.

“The Detroit Lions came within a game of the franchise’s first Super Bowl last year,” Davenport wrote. “But the team’s 27th-ranked pass defense was a major liability all season—largely because the cornerbacks in Motown were average on a good day and awful on a bad one.

“L’Jarius Sneed’s 2023 season was anything but average. One year after piling up 108 total tackles, Sneed’s coverage play excelled—he allowed just 51 percent of the passes thrown in his direction to be completed, with a passer rating against of just 56.2.”

In addition to identifying the Lions as the best fit, Davenport projected Sneed’s contract worth to be $54 million on a 3-year contract.

Will the Kansas City Chiefs Place the Franchise Tag on L’Jarius Sneed?

There’s a question to be answered before the Lions can entertain the possibility of signing Sneed. Before the start of free agency, the Kansas City Chiefs could place the franchise tag on the 27-year-old, which would prevent him from reaching free agency.

The Chiefs could also place the franchise tag on All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones. Each team only has the option to use the franchise tag on one player each offseason.

Because of financial reasons, it’s more likely the Chiefs place the franchise tag on Sneed. But ESPN’s Dan Graziano argued that Kansas City could still let Sneed test free agency.

“The Chiefs have drafted four cornerbacks in the past two drafts, including 2022 first-rounder Trent McDuffie, who appears more than ready to take over as the No. 1 corner if Sneed leaves,” Graziano wrote. “Their draft strategy has been preparing them for the possibility of this happening.

“Jones, who is the key to their pass rush and a top-five defender in the league, seems to be more difficult to replace than Sneed.”

In four NFL seasons, Sneed has recorded 303 combined tackles, including 19 tackles for loss, 40 pass defenses and 10 interceptions. In the playoffs, he has made 13 starts.

Sneed, who was a fourth-round pick in 2020, has also started in three Super Bowls and helped the Chiefs win two championships.

What Sneed Would Bring to the Lions

Sneed is an obvious fit with the Lions. As Davenport noted, Detroit finished 27th in pass defense last season. The Lions were also 27th in passing touchdowns yielded and 29th in yards allowed per pass attempt.

Sneed would solidify the starting cornerback spot opposite Cameron Sutton, who Detroit added in free agency last year.

Sneed posted 78 combined tackles, including 5 tackles for loss and 3 quarterback hits in 2023. He also had 14 pass defenses, 2 interceptions and 1 forced fumble.

During the postseason, he had 17 combined tackles and 3 pass defenses. In the AFC championship game, he forced a fumble during the second half inside the Chiefs 5-yard line. Kansas City recovered the fumble and held on to win by a touchdown.

The Lions will be looking for that kind of impact from their secondary in 2024 as they push to make the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance.

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