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    Analyzing Kansas City’s Cornerback Situation: Who Now Replaces L’Jarius Sneed Following Chiefs Trade?

    The Chiefs' cornerback room is undergoing a big change following Friday evening's major trade. Time to look at who could be their CB1 for 2024.

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    Is L’Jarius Sneed leaving the Kansas City Chiefs in good hands at cornerback following Friday’s blockbuster trade? Or will the Super Bowl champs need to act fast to find his replacement?

    Sneed will not become a part of the three-peat plans the Chiefs are envisioning for 2024, as the Pro Bowl cornerback was traded to the Tennessee Titans for a 2024 seventh-round swap and a 2025 third-rounder late Friday night.

    Now, who will officially emerge as the new CB1 for the Chiefs? We’re examining who the best options are on the roster, in free agency, and in the 2024 NFL Draft.

    What’s the Chiefs’ Plan at Cornerback Post-L’Jarius Sneed?

    Cornerback has suddenly emerged as a pivotal need for the back-to-back Super Bowl champs.

    Granted, Trent McDuffie remains after delivering an astonishing All-Pro performance during the 2023 Super Bowl run. However, this is simply a position that cannot be ignored on the Chiefs’ end for the remainder of the offseason.

    While Sneed is an irreplaceable piece, Kansas City will still need to find a depth filler or someone who can compliment McDuffie. But outside of McDuffie, how’s the talent and depth at cornerback looking for Kansas City post-Sneed?

    Will Any of the Chiefs’ Cornerbacks Under Contract Emerge?

    Fortunately for the Chiefs, McDuffie still has a workable contract. He’s got a base salary of more than $1.5 million for 2024 per Spotrac. Plus he has two years left with a fifth-year option still available.

    But unfortunately for Kansas City, things are tight financially ahead of the draft. According to Over The Cap, the Chiefs are left with over $7.6 million currently in salary cap space, though they’ll have roughly another $20 million once the Sneed trade is completed. Among the reasons why K.C. is low in cap space is the re-signing of defensive tackle Chris Jones to a massive five-year, $95 million deal during the free agency period.

    McDuffie is the lone Chiefs CB with a contract above $13 million overall. Between the quartet of Joshua Williams, Nic Jones, Jaylen Watson, and Kelvin Joseph, all four are making less than $4.3 million with the champs. All four have had their moments when they needed to be called upon to fill in for McDuffie and Sneed. And in the case of Watson, he got extensive snaps in Super Bowl 57 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

    However, the rest of the CBs outside of McDuffie are thin on starting experience. Watson and Williams are the lone corners who started, playing in two games last season. Jones saw action in nine contests but was not elevated to first string for any game. Overall, this is a spot that needs to solidify the side Sneed bequeaths.

    Will the Chiefs Find a New CB Through the 2024 NFL Draft?

    Mock drafts have pointed to Kansas City taking a wide receiver at No. 32 in the 2024 NFL Draft — with Xavier Worthy and Keon Coleman projected as two options.

    But following Sneed’s departure plus the rest of the room’s lack of playing experience, Kansas City is now in a position where CB has to be considered to end the first round of the draft.

    MORE: Top CBs in the 2024 NFL Draft

    Quinyon Mitchell and Terrion Arnold aren’t expected to fall to the 32nd pick, as both are considered the best CBs in this class.

    However, Kool-Aid McKinstry has had his name attached near the bottom of the first round. The Alabama Crimson Tide star is nearly similar in size to Sneed at 6’1″ and 195 pounds. His closing speed is among his primary strengths, but his ability to make pre-snap reads and communicate zone coverages from his Alabama days could make him even more attractive to the Chiefs

    He could be worth trading up for on K.C.’s side, or they could hope he falls to the bottom of the draft.

    If not McKinstry, another Southeastern Conference star is projected to fall near the bottom of the first in Kamari Lassiter of Georgia. Lassiter is shorter at 5’11”, 186 pounds, but he’s another who comes equipped with long strides and doesn’t give up much ground in coverage.

    But say K.C. opts to turn to Day 2 of the draft to address CB; T.J. Tampa of Iowa State is one with value in the second round. PFN’s Ian Cummings wrote this evaluation of Tampa:

    “Of the 2024 cornerbacks, Tampa best embodies the physical profile of a CB1. He’s 6’1″, almost 200 pounds, with high-end length, bristling start-and-stop and attack explosiveness, and smooth swivel freedom,” Cummings wrote.

    Which Free Agent Cornerbacks are the Best Remaining for Chiefs?

    The market is starting to get thin for available cornerbacks.

    Stephon Gilmore remains unsigned and is a past NFL Defensive Player of the Year winner. He also has his own Super Bowl experience with the New England Patriots. However, at 33, he hasn’t attracted much interest. Gilmore still started in all 17 games with the Dallas Cowboys, but he hasn’t surpassed two interceptions in the last three seasons.

    Xavien Howard is another former Pro Bowler still out there. He has his own credentials with the Miami Dolphins, but like Gilmore, he’s another who’s not getting any younger at 30.

    KEEP READING: NFL Post-Free Agency Power Rankings 

    Perhaps the Chiefs can turn to a familiar face here. Steven Nelson remains a free agent and is coming off a four-interception year with the Houston Texans. Nelson began his career with the Chiefs back in 2015 and played four seasons in K.C.

    Right now, all three are the most decorated CBs still left over. But, as history has told us involving the Chiefs, they’ve discovered their cornerbacks via the NFL Draft. Bringing in Sneed’s potential replacement in April looks like the best, least expensive route to go.

    Miss football? The 2024 NFL Draft is almost here, boss. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

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