Chiefs could franchise tag either CB L'Jarius Sneed or DT Chris Jones, GM says

Brett Veach has said for the past month that L'Jarius Sneed and Chris Jones are the Kansas City Chiefs' top two priorities for the offseason.

On Tuesday, he told reporters he's optimistic that deals can be worked out with the star cornerback and defensive tackle, respectively. During his media availability at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, Veach suggested that both players would like to return to the team.

Jones said during the team's Super Bowl parade that he "ain't going nowhere, baby!" A day later, Sneed's words to Veach were, "Pay me, pay me. That's what I've got to say — pay me."

And with that being the case, if the dollars are close enough, Veach feels good about his chances to bring both players back.

"If you get close in negotiations, I think you get the added benefit of the ties go to the Chiefs," Veach said. "It is a money deal at the end of the day, and people aren't going to turn down a huge discrepancy in contracts, but I think we get the benefit of breaking all ties."

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback L'Jarius Sneed comes onto the field during introductions before playing the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL AFC Championship playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023 in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)
Kansas City Chiefs cornerback L'Jarius Sneed is one the two free agents the Chiefs have publicly said they want to retain. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)

But if for any reason Kansas City is unable to reach a long-term agreement with either player, then the Chiefs have a backup plan for that.

Veach will use the franchise tag.

"Certainly we want to do what we can to try to keep both those players and that's going to be our goal and intent," Veach said. "Hopefully we're able to figure something out. But every free agency is different, unique and crazy. We do have one tag, and I anticipate probably using it to help us. But I think our goal is to try to get both those players done and then work down the rest of our roster."

Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones celebrates a sack against the Miami Dolphins during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024 in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)
Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones would be paid roughly $32 million in the upcoming season if he plays under the franchise tag. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)

If Jones is franchise tagged he would be paid approximately $32 million due to his salary last season, whereas if the Chiefs decide to use the tag on Sneed, it would cost them only $19.8 million. That led to reports that the expectation is that Sneed will receive the tag should a long-term deal not be reached by March 5. It would give the Chiefs additional time to work out a deal, without the concern of losing Sneed when free agency begins on March 13.

"That's always a stress," Veach said. "You'd like to be able to tag all the guys and pay all the guys. It's tough because the more you win, the more you've got to pay players, and obviously when you have this amount of success, you're paying a lot of players a lot of money, and then it's equally as tough because you're drafting late."