Chiefs use nonexclusive franchise tag on CB L'Jarius Sneed

Hasselbeck: Chiefs face tough decision between Jones and Sneed (1:27)

Tim Hasselbeck explains why the Chiefs could struggle to bring back both the franchise-tagged L'Jarius Sneed and Chris Jones. (1:27)

The Kansas City Chiefs officially placed the nonexclusive franchise tag on cornerback L'Jarius Sneed on Monday.

The nonexclusive tag allows Sneed to talk to other teams, who then could work out a trade with the Chiefs. A source told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler last week that the Chiefs had informed Sneed they were preparing to place the tag on him and were open to consummating a trade.

Pending league approval, a new contract for Sneed could be worked out as part of a trade to kick in at the start of the new league year, which begins next Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET. The source stressed to Fowler that a trade is very much on the table.

If Sneed were to play the 2024 season on the franchise tag, his salary would be $19.8 million, fully guaranteed.

The deadline for teams to use the franchise tag on pending free agents is Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.

General manager Brett Veach said before the Super Bowl the Chiefs were hopeful of retaining both of their top prospective free agents, Sneed and defensive tackle Chris Jones.

Jones, heading into the final year of his existing contract last season, held out for an improved contract during training camp and missed the first regular-season game. But the sides didn't come to an agreement on an extension.

The Chiefs gave Jones some incentives for the final year of the existing contract, and he wound up playing the rest of the season and tying for the team lead with 10.5 sacks.

The Chiefs cleared about $12 million of salary cap space last week by releasing wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. OverTheCap.com has the Chiefs with about $3.5 million of salary cap space after tagging Sneed.

In 2023, Sneed had by many measures, his best season since he joined the Chiefs as a fourth-round draft pick in 2020. Sneed covered the opponents' top receiver on at least 65% of the snaps a league-high seven times during the regular season, according to NFL Next Gen Stats data.

Only once were any of those receivers able to catch more than two passes. Davante Adams of the Las Vegas Raiders had five catches for 73 yards on seven targets against Sneed in a Week 12 game.

Sneed, 27, didn't allow a touchdown catch as the nearest defender in coverage all season until the Chiefs' divisional round playoff win over the Buffalo Bills.

In the AFC Championship Game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sneed lined up against Zay Flowers 21 times. Sneed allowed one catch for 54 yards, but later in the game made one of the biggest plays of the game by knocking the ball from Flowers just before he crossed the goal line. The Chiefs recovered the fumble in the end zone.

In 57 regular-season games, Sneed has 10 interceptions and 40 passes defended. He has one interception and seven passes defended in 13 postseason games.