3 L’Jarius Sneed replacements the Chiefs must target in free agency

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback L'Jarius Sneed
Kansas City Chiefs cornerback L'Jarius Sneed / Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

At long last, the Kansas City Chiefs have traded L'Jarius Sneed. Late on Friday night, an agreement was struck with the Tennessee Titans, who are set to sign the cornerback to a massive new contract.

Now Kansas City has a gap in their secondary to fill.

The Chiefs could stick with what they've got. Trent McDuffie has been a revelation in the slot but he could be moved outside. Or he could stay inside if Steve Spagnuolo wants to put his faith in Jaylen Watson and Joshua Williams, both 2022 draft picks. The former has started eight games in his two seasons. The latter had the second-best coverage grade among KC cornerbacks last year, per Pro Football Focus. He's started six times.

The NFL Draft presents another option. Using their first-round pick on a wide receiver seems like the right way to go given the issues at that position in 2023. Then again, if the right cornerback falls to KC, they've got to consider going that route.

Before then, Kansas City could get involved with some of the available free agents still out there. Here are three solid options to target:

3. Tre'Davious White

The Bills were getting Pro Bowl-level play out of Tre'Davious White before the injury bug hit him hard. The recently-turned-29-year-old has only played 10 games over the last two seasons making him a tricky free agent target.

On the one hand, White is a starting-caliber cornerback when he's healthy. He had six interceptions and 17 pass defenses in 2019 and followed that All-Pro campaign up with three interceptions and 11 pass defenses in 2020. He's not as good as Sneed at this point in his career, but he could help cover his absence.

On the other hand, the injury risk is high. He's worth a prove-it deal with plenty of incentives to sweeten the pot. But would that deal be enough for the Chiefs to win his signature when the Rams and Giants are also circling? Getting into a bidding war over an injury-prone corner is less than ideal.

2. Xavien Howard

A four-time Pro Bowler, Xavien Howard had a down year in 2023 and was a cap casualty for the Dolphins after the season. Now he's looking for a new home.

The corner has outright stated that he'd love to sign with the Texans as he's originally from Houston. However, he also opened the door to taking a pay cut to land with a contender.

"My goal is always to try to win a Super Bowl. Don't let the money get in the way of winning a Super Bowl. Some people get paid, and some people win a Super Bowl. Some people do both. You do both, you're different. I want to be different. I want to win a Super Bowl now. I already got paid, so now (a Super Bowl) is what I'm looking forward to," Howard told the Houston Chronicle.

The best bet any player has to win a Super Bowl is by signing with the team that has won back-to-back Super Bowls. Howard is the closest thing to Sneed's level on the market. His addition would certainly help that defense stay at top performance.

If Howard is really willing to take a pay cut, perhaps the Chiefs could afford him.

1. Stephon Gilmore

When it comes to veteran options who could come in on a one-year deal to take the pressure off a promising-but-young cornerback room, it doesn't get much better than Stephon Gilmore.

Gilmore spent last season with the Cowboys, starting 17 games. He was a godsend, especially after the Trevon Diggs injury. He's certainly not the shutdown corner he once was, but he's an effective and wiley veteran.

The biggest issue with Gilmore is age. He's getting up there at 33 and he'll turn 34 in the first month of the season. It still feels like a safe bet to bring him in. If he could deliver two interceptions, 13 pass defenses and 68 tackles at 33, he can do something similar at 34.

Gilmore is already a Super Bowl winner. He knows what it takes. He's been there before. He'd be a strong fit.

NFL trade grades. NFL trade grades: Titans land L'Jarius Sneed in blockbuster deal with Chiefs. Who won the L'Jarius Sneed trade?. dark