Patriots Engaged in Trade Talks For Chiefs’ Star Slot Defender

Patriots Engaged in Trade Talks For Chiefs’ Star Slot Defender

While much speculation surrounds the New England Patriots’ intention to leverage their substantial cap space and draft picks to bolster a lackluster offense, the prospect of acquiring top defensive talents like Christian Wilkins or Chris Jones remains enticing. The Patriots’ strategic use of the transition tag on Kyle Dugger signals a commitment to solidifying their defensive identity under head coach Jerod Mayo’s leadership in his first season at the helm for the Patriots.

L'Jarius Sneed

Amidst the frenzy of free agency, one particularly intriguing player on the market is cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. Despite the Kansas City Chiefs’ decision to apply the non-exclusive franchise tag to Sneed, reports suggest they are open to entertaining trade offers for the 27-year-old. This development initially disappointed some within the Patriots organization, as Sneed emerged as a coveted target to complement Christian Gonzalez following J.C. Jackson’s departure.

However, the franchise tag imposition posed an unforeseen obstacle to the Patriots’ plans. Nevertheless, Kansas City’s willingness to engage in trade discussions presents a potential avenue for the Patriots to pursue Sneed. Reports from Tyler Dragon of USA Today indicate that the Patriots have already initiated talks with the Super Bowl Champions regarding a trade for Sneed. Furthermore, a source with direct knowledge of the situation revealed that several other teams, including the Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons, and Jacksonville Jaguars, have expressed interest in acquiring the talented cornerback.

Vikings, Colts, Titans, Patriots, Lions, Falcons and Jaguars have all inquired about Chiefs CB L’Jarius Sneed, per sources. Plus the latest on Saquon Barkley. via @usatoday

Evaluating L’Jarius Sneed

Sneed’s versatility shines as he seamlessly transitions between the slot and outside cornerback positions, showcasing his prowess in multiple defensive roles since his rookie debut. At just 27 years old, he’s already established himself as a formidable force when it comes to pressuring the quarterback, especially from the slot position. His ability to disrupt opposing offenses was evident from the start, as he notched an impressive four sacks in under 275 snaps during his rookie campaign, leaving a lasting impression with his relentless pursuit of the quarterback.

USA Today’s Doug Farrar had Sneed ranked as the 6th-best slot defender in the NFL. Farrar had the Patriot’s Kyle Dugger ranked 9th on the list, as Dugger was just one of two players to make the list in both 2022 and 2023. Farrar describes Sneed as one of the best blitzing slot defenders in the league.

A fourth-round pick out of Louisiana Tech in 2020, Sneed was one of the Chiefs’ surprise standouts in his rookie season. Now, the three-year veteran is an elder statesman in a Steve Spagnuolo secondary packed with young stars on the rise. Sneed has always been a prominent presence in the slot for the Chiefs, and in 2022, he gave up 51 catches on 64 slot targets for 417 yards, 273 yards after the catch, two touchdowns, four pass breakups, and an opponent passer rating of 97.7.

With Sneed, you have to start with his slot blitzing ability, because that’s always been a big plus in his palette. Last season, he amassed two sacks, four quarterback hits, and 13 quarterback hurries when pressing quarterbacks from the slot, and that doesn’t count this denial of a Russell Wilson pass in Week 14. – Doug Farrar, USA TODAY Sports

Can The Patriots Get a Deal Done?

The Chiefs and Sneed’s camp have some time to try to work out an extension. With all of the teams reportedly interested in potentially making a move for Sneed, the Chiefs will undoubtedly have various options. It’s no surprise Sneed is so highly sought after. According to Next Gen Stats, Sneed boasted an impressive track record in 2023, allowing no touchdowns and a league-low average of four yards per target while in zone coverage.

While the exact cost of acquiring Sneed remains undisclosed, it is widely speculated that the Patriots would need to part with multiple draft picks to secure his services. Nevertheless, the Patriots’ apparent determination to rebuild their roster following a disappointing season highlights their commitment to returning to championship contention under first-year head coach Jerod Mayo. With their league-leading cap space availability and the highest draft pick in organization history since the early 90s, the Patriots may have some leverage over the other suitors interested in trading for Sneed. Now is the time for the Patriots to get aggressive and mold a championship-contesting roster.

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