4 Kansas City Chiefs moves to make next with $20M saved in L’Jarius Sneed trade

The Kansas City Chiefs saved $19.8 million trading L'Jarius Sneed, money that can be spent to make the champs even more dangerous.

Kansas City Chiefs v Las Vegas Raiders
Kansas City Chiefs v Las Vegas Raiders / Chris Unger/GettyImages

After weeks of waiting, the Kansas City Chiefs finally pulled the trigger and traded star cornerback L'Jarius Sneed, who they'd previously placed the franchise tag on. The return of a 2025 third-round pick along with a Day 3 pick in this year's draft might be underwhelming at first glance, but the bigger advantage for the Chiefs is the $19.8 million in cap savings with Sneed coming off of the books.

Now the question becomes what the Chiefs will do with the nearly $20 million in cap space they now have available to them to work in free agency.

Even as the back-to-back Super Bowl champions, Kansas City still has holes to fill, not the least of which is at cornerback to not necessarily replace Sneed, but replenish the depth. But these still-available free agents could definitely all fit into the newfound budget and push the Chiefs toward a Super Bowl repeat.

What's more, the club could sign all four with the $19.8 million saved by trading Sneed with these proposed and feasible contract -- especially with a baked-in Chiefs discount.

4. Chiefs can sign OT David Bakhtiari to 1-year, $6.5 million contract

It was a point of emphasis for the Chiefs last offseason at offensive tackle to shake things up. The results were Andrew Wylie and Orlando Brown Jr. being on their way out while Jawaan Taylor and veteran Donovan Smith became the new starters.

Smith, however, was pedestrian in his best moments while also on just a one-year deal. That now leaves Taylor to ideally start at right tackle for Kansas City in 2024 with the other options currently on the roster to start on the left side being between 2023 third-rounder Wanya Morris or likely 2020 third-rounder Lucas Niang.

But the Chiefs could look to bring in another veteran, this time with an even stronger pedigree than Smith's, by taking a look at longtime Packers bookend David Bakhtiari, who it was announced will be released this offseason.

Injuries have ravaged Bakhtiari in recent years, limiting him to just one game in both 2021 and 2023 along with only 11 in the 2022 season. When on the field, though, Bakhtiari has still looked the part of a perennial Pro Bowler. Moreover, we saw the New York Jets set a precedent for an injury-risk high-caliber tackle already with Tyron Smith. So signing Bakhtiari to such a deal would make sense and give the tackle rotation immense upside that just isn't there with Morris or Niang.

3. Chiefs can sign RB Cordarrelle Patterson to 1-year, $1.5 million contract

Based on the depth chart, it would behoove the Chiefs to take a look at adding some pieces to the running back room. We know with relative certainty that Isiah Pacheco is the clear-cut RB1 in the backfield, but with both Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon being free agents, relying on La'Mical Perine and Deneric Prince as depth does leave some legitimate questions.

Despite the stars of the free agent running back class like Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs and so on being off the board, that's not what the Kansas City offense needs with Pacheco as the bell-cow. Instead, someone like 33-year-old Cordarrelle Patterson could be a budget-friendly option who could likely be had for just slightly more than the veteran minimum.

Patterson wouldn't be anything close to a threat to take a large number of carries from Pacheco, but he could be a change-of-pace back with receiving upside. The converted receiver offers a ton of versatility out of the backfield and his experience overall could prove valuable as a high-end depth piece.

At his age, teams likely aren't knocking down the door for Patterson's services. But for the chance to join a potential dynasty in the Chiefs and play a pivotal role, this could be an easy match to make.

2. Chiefs can sign CB Xavien Howard to 1-year, $6 million contract

As mentioned, it's not of the utmost importance that the Chiefs flat-out replace L'Jarius Sneed in the cornerback room. That's not a slight on Sneed by any stretch, but rather a testament to Brett Veach, Andy Reid and Steve Spagnuolo's contingency plans, eye for talent, and development of corners.

Former first-round pick Trent McDuffie truly broke out in the 2023 campaign and feels likely to step into the inside-out and highly movable role that Sneed occupied. Meanwhile, former Day 3 picks like Joshua Williams, Jaylen Watson and Nazeeh Johnson, along with 2023 UDFA Keith Taylor, could all step in.

But if there's on thing that the Chiefs could do to ostensibly replace Sneed, it would be bringing in a proven veteran like Xavien Howard to lock down one spot on the outside, allowing Spagnuolo to move McDuffie around and shuffle other options in the secondary.

Howard was released earlier this offseason by the Miami Dolphins and, despite being owed nearly $20 million per year before being cut, Howard has expressed a willingness to take a pay cut to play for a winning team, saying, "I got my money and stuff like that. I'm to the point, like, 'How much money do you really need?'" and adding that he wants to win a Super Bowl.

So this deal would pay him more than another veteran, Ronald Darby, signed for this offseason (two-year, $8 million) but give Howard the best chance of his career to get a Lombardi Trophy.

1. Chiefs can sign WR Hunter Renfrow for 2-year, $11.5 million contract

The one-two punch that the Chiefs have assembled at wide receiver, obviously not including tight end Travis Kelce, should have Patrick Mahomes feeling much more comfortable about the team's pass-catchers than he likely was at any point in the 2023 season. Marquise Brown is a perfect fit for Reid's offense with Mahomes and Rashee Rice established himself continually as a rookie.

However, the depth that includes Justin Watson, Kadarius Toney, Skyy Moore or even Justyn Ross doesn't inspire a ton of confidence. Finding a high-end third wide receiver to get into the fold could very much benefit Kansas City in building a more complete passing offense around Mahomes.

A familiar face like Hunter Renfrow, who the Chiefs have seen twice annually since he was a fifth-round pick by the Raiders in 2019, could help the cause a great deal. In the three seasons prior to Josh McDaniels' ill-fated arrival in Vegas, Renfrow averaged 69.3 receptions, 766.3 yards and five touchdowns per year over his first three NFL seasons.

Renfrow has long been underrated as a technician with his routes and a nightmare out of the slot for opposing defensive backs because of that. So structuring a deal that is back-loaded but with a higher AAV than a player like K.J. Osborn (one-year, $4 million) to give Renfrow a shot as a buy-low candidate for the Chiefs could fit into the Sneed budget while also filling a role they don't have an answer for on the roster right now.

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