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Chiefs won't get much more than if they'd let L'Jarius Sneed walk away

The Chiefs applied the franchise tag to cornerback L'Jarius Sneed with the obvious goal of trading him. The plan was so obvious that they reportedly gave him permission to seek a trade even before the tag officially was applied.

Now that a deal has been done, subject to Sneed passing a physical, the Chiefs will get Tennessee's third-round pick in 2025 and a swap of seventh-rounders in 2024.

That's not much more than they would have gotten if Sneed had simply left via free agency. Unless the Chiefs had gone on a free-agent spree that would have wiped out their right to compensatory picks, Sneed's departure would have likely given them a third-round pick in 2025.

Of course, that pick would have come at the bottom of the round. The Titans could be picking much higher than that, depending on what happens in 2024.

Regardless, it appears that the Chiefs tagged Sneed simply as a way to squat on the ability to trade him. At some point, that approach potentially runs afoul of Article 4, Section 8(b) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which provides that "[a] Club extending a Required Tender must, for so long as that Tender is extended, have a good faith intention to employ the player receiving the Tender at the Tender compensation level during the upcoming season."

It's not supposed to be a device for trading the player. The team is supposed to want to keep the player, at least for another season. In this case, it could be argued (if Sneed or the NFL Players Association were inclined to make the argument) that the Chiefs did not have a good-faith intention to to employ Sneed in 2024.

It looks like they just wanted to get something for him, especially since they didn't get much more than if he'd hit the market at the start of free agency and maximized his second contract.

And that's the problem, from Sneed's perspective. Whatever the contract is that he gets from the Titans, he would have gotten more if he'd become an unrestricted free agent on the first day of the 2024 signing period.