New Contract Projections Revealed for Chris Jones & L’Jarius Sneed

Chiefs contract projections for Chris Jones and L'Jarius Sneed.

Getty New contract projections were released for key Kansas City Chiefs defenders Chris Jones (pictured above) and L'Jarius Sneed.

The Kansas City Chiefs will have some tough decisions to make on defense in 2024 with Chris Jones, L’Jarius Sneed, Willie Gay and Mike Danna all set to hit free agency on that side of the football.

Those are four integral leaders of the current defensive unit, and they won’t be easily replaced. Having said that, the two priorities next spring are probably Jones and Sneed. Steve Spagnuolo’s game-wrecker and his Swiss Army knife.

Pro Football Focus shared two new contract projections for the pair of UFAs in an article listing the top 100 NFL free agents in 2024. Below were both financial estimations according to PFF.

  • Chris Jones: “Four years, $120 million ($30 million per year), $80 million total guaranteed.”
  • L’Jarius Sneed: “Three years, $52.5 million ($17.5 million per year), $35 million total guaranteed.”

Jones was named as the No. 1 impending free agent in football, while Sneed ranked 10th in the NFL. Over the Cap currently projects that the Chiefs will have a little over $35.86 million in available cap space next March.

Explanation Behind Chiefs’ Contract Projections for Chris Jones & L’Jarius Sneed

PFF salary cap analyst Brad Spielberger put together these rankings and contract estimations for Jones and Sneed and he explained his thinking for each.

The “top free agent comparison” for Jones was defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in 2015.

“It’s rare for a player of Jones’ caliber to reach unrestricted free agency, and Kansas City did not give up the right to franchise tag him for a second time when the two sides agreed to a reworked contract this past offseason,” Spielberger noted.

Acknowledging: “A tag for Jones would land north of $33 million, which perhaps helps him test the open market for the first time in his career.”

“Jones is not only one of the best interior pass-rushers in the game right now; he’s one of the best ever,” the analyst went on. “He is also capable of lining up outside of tackles as a five-technique, bending around the edge and getting home.”

As for the shutdown cornerback, Spielberger called Sneed’s “top free agent comparison” James Bradberry in 2020.

“Sneed has been a fixture out wide in 2023 after lining up primarily in the slot over his first three seasons, and he’s held up quite well in several tough matchups,” he wrote. “Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo asks a lot of his cornerbacks, and Sneed is sticky in coverage, getting into receivers’ hip pockets and becoming very hard to shake with lateral movement or in the air at the catch point.”

“Sneed could stand to cut down on penalties,” Spielberger admitted later, “but his aggressive nature would be welcome on many teams, and his inside-outside versatility is a nice benefit, as well.”

Can Chiefs Re-Sign Both Defensive Playmakers in 2024?

It will take some creativity, but there’s reason to believe Kansas City could re-sign Jones and Sneed in 2024. It would likely take backloaded cap hits for each player though, given what they’re expected to make.

The franchise tag is an option as well, but it’s not a great one.

Jones’ tag number would handcuff KC financially, while Sneed’s is more feasible at a projected $18.41 million. Remember, franchise tags come with a full cap hit. They do not provide any flexibility.

It’d be much more lucrative for general manager Brett Veach to work out extensions for each player. Of course, that takes a mutually beneficial agreement between agent and front office.

Sometimes that’s easier said than done. After all, an extension was the expected outcome for Tyreek Hill in 2022, and now he’s a member of the Miami Dolphins.