Chiefs’ L’Jarius Sneed Trade Could Set Up 2 Key Reunions - Sport News

Chiefs’ L’Jarius Sneed Trade Could Set Up 2 Key Reunions

The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to trade veteran cornerback L’Jarius Sneed to the Tennessee Titans just before midnight on March 22. The return, according to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, will be a 2025 third-round selection and a seventh-round pick swap in 2024 (pending a physical).

L'Jarius Sneed trade frees up cap space for Chiefs to re-sign Donovan Smith and Mike Danna.

Schefter also noted that “once the trade is executed, L’Jarius Sneed’s departure to Tennessee would free up $19.8 million against the Chiefs’ salary cap.” Needless to say, this deal opens up a world of veteran possibilities for KC general manager Brett Veach ahead of the draft.

Not long after the news, fellow ESPN insider Jeremy Fowler followed up with two potential reunions that are much more plausible once Sneed is officially dealt.

“With L’Jarius Sneed’s $19.8M franchise tag going off Kansas City’s books, they have more flexibility to potentially re-sign free agents such as Mike Danna and Donovan Smith,” Fowler voiced on March 22.

Considering most of the starting roster is already locked into place, left tackle and defensive end are the Chiefs’ two greatest needs at this time. Second-year prospect Wanya Morris would be the current starting blocker on Patrick Mahomes’ blindside if the season began tomorrow, while Kansas City might also be forced to line up first-round draftmate Felix Anudike-Uzomah on the opposite side of the football with Charles Omenihu recovering from a torn ACL.

Another Year of Development Could Benefit Chiefs Prospects Wanya Morris & Felix Anudike-Uzomah
Normally, Morris and Anudike-Uzomah’s ascendance would be the natural order of things. However, the pair of youngsters might still be a little too green to elevate into full-time starting roles in 2024.

According to Pro Football Focus, Morris allowed 24 quarterback pressures over just 235 pass-blocking snaps as a rookie. That performance yielded a pass-blocking efficiency of 94.2.

For reference, Smith’s efficiency rating was a 95.6, while right tackle Jawaan Taylor was credited with a 96.2.

Morris was not much better as a run-blocker during his first campaign in the league. Per PFF’s grading system, the third rounder scored a 47.1 out of 100 on rushing snaps.

The potential swing tackle was also flagged for three penalties in 2023.

Anudike-Uzomah had a similarly rocky rookie season as a rotational piece that was on the field for just 225 defensive snaps for KC. The first-round pass rusher was used sparingly in run defense and coverage in year one, with most of his opportunities spent going after the opposing quarterback.

Over that span of reps, “FAU” registered 11 QB pressures and he was in on one sack. Having said that, he also missed two tackles in limited action and allowed both of his targets to be caught for 16 receiving yards and a 100.0 passer rating against.

As of now, Anudike-Uzomah profiles as an explosive edge rusher that can help Kansas City get to the quarterback on third downs — but he’s not an early down player at this stage of his career. That’s why a Danna reunion would fit in perfectly for the Chiefs.

Chiefs’ Alternative Free Agent Options at LT & DE
Assuming a rookie starter is out of the question in round one of the 2024 draft, the Chiefs’ free agent options are somewhat limited at left tackle.

Veterans like David Bakhtiari, Charles Leno Jr., Duane Brown and Andre Dillard represent the top of the market at LT. Each come with their own set of flaws, like Smith.

Bakhtiari and Brown are former first-team All-Pro blockers that have been ravaged by injuries in recent years. Both have contemplated retirement but seem to be returning for another year as of March 23.

Leno and Dillard are recent castoffs of the Washington Commanders and Titans.

One other candidate might be former New York Jets first rounder Mekhi Becton. The 6-foot-7 blocker is an injury risk and a bit of a project, but perhaps there’s some untapped potential for the Chiefs to take a swing at developing.

There are several veteran edge rushers still available. Some of the top names on the market include a reunion with Emmanuel Ogbah, Yannick Ngakoue, Carl Lawson, Jadeveon Clowney, Bud Dupree, Tyus Bowser, Jerry Hughes and Randy Gregory.

When looking at players known for their early down work, Clowney and Bowser stand out as potential alternatives to Danna.

The Chiefs could also spend a portion of their newfound cap space on a veteran running back or a versatile defensive back that can help fill the void left by both Sneed and safety Mike Edwards — who signed with the Buffalo Bills on March 20.

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