The Detroit Lions should go all-in on L'Jarius Sneed if he's available

There's another path to Chiefs cornerback L'Jarius Sneed possibly being available, so should the Lions go all-in to try to get it done?
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One of the biggest news nuggets from Tuesday at the NFL Combine dealt with one of the top free agent cornerbacks. According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, the Kansas City Chiefs are prepared to use the franchise tag on cornerback L'Jarius Sneed if a long-term deal can't be worked out. But that's not the big news.

Per Fowler, the Chiefs are willing to trade Sneed after tagging him. Sneed is "agreeable" to that scenario, as it would allow to him to speak with other teams while keeping door open to stay in Kansas City.

It would all be rendered moot if the Chiefs agree to a multi-year deal with Sneed. Tagging him would give them until July 15 to get a long-term deal done, though a "tag and trade" scenario could still happen after that.

Update: According to Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report, the Chiefs have indeed placed the franchise tag on Sneed.

Update, Feb. 28, 3:45 p.m. ET: According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Chiefs have given Sneed permission to seek a trade.

Perhaps no team has a need at cornerback more than the Detroit Lions. Sneed fits the bill as the legit No. 1 cornerback they sorely need, it has just been a question if or to what extent he might be available. But in a broad sense, pursuing him would be a no-brainer.

Detroit Lions rumors: Should Detroit go all-in for L'Jarius Sneed?

The franchise tag for cornerbacks this year is worth $19.8 million. So the Lions, or any team who may want to make a deal for Sneed will have to take that on for 2024. Acquiring him of course comes with signing him to a long-term deal.

Spotrac projects Sneed for a four-year, $65.3 million deal ($16.3 million per year). AtoZ Sports' projection is along the same lines, four years, $64 million ($16 million per year), with $35 million guaranteed.

The next big thing, really a co-No. 1 to the financial cost for 2024 and beyond, is the cost to get Sneed in a trade. The closest recent comp would be Jalen Ramsey. In March of 2023, the Miami Dolphins acquired Ramsey from the Los Angeles Rams for a 2024 third-round pick and tight end Hunter Long.

The Lions have an extra third-round pick this year, via the T.J. Hockenson trade with the Vikings (No. 73 overall). General manager Brad Holmes likes to hang onto draft picks, and as well he should given his track record in the draft. He has also made it clear he does not subscribe to the "one player away" idea, as the Lions look to take the next step next season.

A potential opportunity to acquire Sneed via a tag and trade has been opened up. The Lions need to have it on their radar, and be willing to part with draft picks to get it done. A third-round pick this year is the base of an offer, with an extra pick easy to part with if it means going all the way to getting a legit No. 1 cornerback like Sneed.


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