Chiefs Rumors: Kansas City Predicted to Lose $29 Million Starter

L'Jarius Sneed

Getty Chiefs cornerback L'Jarius Sneed at Allegiant Stadium on January 07, 2023.

The Kansas City Chiefs can thank their defense for entering the bye week with a 7-2 record.

The Chiefs’ defense ranks second in the league in scoring defense and fourth in total defense, per the AP, helping propel Kansas City to another Super Bowl run.

While general manager Brett Veach would like to retain all his key defensive players, Bleacher Report‘s David Kenyon predicts the team’s shadow cornerback L’Jarius Sneed will be forced to “switch teams” after this season. The Louisiana Tech alum is midway through the final year of his $3.9 million rookie contract. projects Sneed’s market value will earn him a four-year, $29.6 million contract, which makes for a “complicated offseason,” Kenyon wrote.

“All-Pro pass-rusher lineman Chris Jones is headed for free agency, and he’ll be incredibly expensive. Kansas City has seen its defense without Jones, though, and it’s not great. Letting him walk could be devastating.”

The Chiefs are projected to have $51.6 million in cap space in 2024. Kenyon believes the Chiefs will prioritize paying All-Pro pass rusher Chris Jones, who’s expected to earn a $32 million salary next season.

“The issue is his price tag probably means the Chiefs will be unable to keep cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, too,” Kenyon surmised.

“He’s been a fantastic player in four seasons with Kansas City. But as a low-cost fourth-round pick in 2020, this contract is particularly important for Sneed’s career earnings. Sneed already has two rings and will be a top corner available. It’s only reasonable for him, entering his age-26 season, to put a little more emphasis on his salary if he so chooses.”

Chiefs News: L’Jarius Sneed Said His Contract ‘Will Take Care of Itself’

Throughout nine games this season, Sneed has recorded 38 total tackles, 10 stops, and one interception, earning an overall 77.0 grade from Pro Football Focus.

An uncertain future can weigh heavy on a player’s mind, but Sneed is keeping his head down and focusing on the game. “I don’t think about that,” Sneed told Forbes of getting an extension in Kansas City. “I’m just playing ball right now. That will take care of itself when the time comes.”

Sneed’s expectant pay day may get a boost if he can curb the penalties. He committed four during the Chiefs’ 24-9 loss to the Denver Broncos and another two against the Minnesota Vikings, including a $13,659 fine for unsportsmanlike conduct. But the defensive back isn’t worried about it.

“They got my name down,” he said of the officials. “I’m [an] aggressive corner and I’m going to keep being aggressive. They don’t like it.”

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid believes the good far outweighs the bad with Sneed. “Some of those penalties were ticky-tacky, and that’s going to happen whenever you’re a physical corner,” Reid told reporters of Sneed’s performance in Minnesota. “I’ll take that every day with the type of player he is, the type of plays that he makes, and what he does for us on the defense.”

The 6-foot-1, 192-pound is confident his performance will speak for itself. And the money? “That’s gonna come,” he said.

Last season, Sneed recorded a career-high 11 passes defensed, 108 tackles, and three interceptions en route to the Chief’s Super Bowl victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Patrick Mahomes Showered Praise on the Chiefs’ Defense

One person who’s not surprised by the Chiefs defense soaring in the rankings is quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

“I knew they were going to be good,” Mahomes told reporters after the Chiefs defeated the Miami Dolphins 21-14 in Frankfurt, Germany.

“You look at the end of last year, they played some great football and no one really noticed. I knew they were going to be good. They brought back so many people — so many young guys that they were going to develop. I mean, the fact they’re all developing this fast, I don’t know if anyone could have guessed it. I knew they were going to be great as their careers went on. Good to have a lot of young guys that can play like that.”

Steve Spagnuola, Chiefs defensive coordinator, credits Sneed for being a key part of their success. “He wants to go against their very best,” Spagnuola said, per The Athletic. “That’s why we do it. When you have a guy like that, that you have confidence you can put him on their best guy, I think the other 10 guys rally around him.”