Tennessee Titans blockbuster trade for L'Jarius Sneed changes everything

Philadelphia Eagles v Kansas City Chiefs
Philadelphia Eagles v Kansas City Chiefs / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

While everyone was enjoying their Friday night or enjoying the end of Spring Break, Ran Carthon was finalizing a deal to complete one of the biggest trades in Tennessee Titans history.

Late last night the Titans traded a future 3rd round pick to the Kansas City Chiefs for cornerback L'Jarius Sneed and a swap of 7th round picks this year.

That deal had been in the works for weeks between the two teams, but the only thing holding up the move was L'Jarius Sneed agreeing to a contract extension with the Titans. Sneed and the Titans finally found an agreement they were comfortable with, and now Sneed has a new contract for 4 years/$76 million (with $55 million guaranteed.

Now people who have been following this situation might notice that the Tennessee Titans managed to land Sneed with a contract that doesn't reset the market like he wanted. His $19 million AAV only makes him the 8th highest-paid cornerback in the NFL, but the compromise is that he highest guarantees of any cornerback in the league.

When you boil it down, the Tennessee Titans traded away a future third-round pick (less than expected) for a 27-year-old cornerback, and they paid him less than he would have made if he hit free agency. Anything can happen and maybe this looks like a bad deal in the future for some reason, but as it stands right now this is a massive win for the Titans.

What do the Tennessee Titans need now?

When the Tennessee Titans made their first big signing of the Brian Callahan era in Lloyd Cushenberry, I said that this was a great move but that the Titans still had a lot of work to do and that this offseason was going to require them to keep going and to push the envelope in every wave of free agency.

By my count, they needed to add 10 starters this offseason to give themselves a chance to compete for the AFC South title in 2024. In fact, just bringing in starters wasn't enough, the Tennessee Titans needed to land at least one premium player at one of those positions.

After the trade for Sneed, this is what those 10 needs look like:

Needs filled:
Lloyd Cushenberry, 4 years/$50 million ($12.5 million AAV)
-LB: Kenneth Murray, 2 years/$18 million ($9 million AAV)
-CB1:L'Jarius Sneed, 4 years/$76 million ($19 million AAV)
-CB2: Chidobe Awuzie, 3 years/$36 million ($12 million AAV)
-WR2: Calvin Ridley, 4 years/$92 million ($23 million AAV)
-WR (vertical threat/playmaker): Calvin Ridley, (he fills both roles)
-DT (1-tech): 
Sebastian Joseph-Day

Needs remaining:

That is an incredible job by Ran Carthon and the Tennessee Titans still have the 7th pick and the 38th pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Reading the tea leaves, it seems like the Titans are going to get a deal done with either Marcus Maye or Justin Simmons to fill the role at safety, and they are almost certainly going to address left tackle in the first round unless an elite receiver falls into their lap that they just can't say no to.

With everything that the Tennessee Titans have said and done, I think that right tackle and linebacker are positions that are going to go on the back burner this offseason. Players like Dillon Radunz, Nicholas Petit-Frere, and Jaelyn Duncan will probably battle it out for the right tackle job, while Jack Gibbens and Otis Reese compete for the other linebacker position next to Murray.

That isn't ideal and things could change, but every team has weak links that they have to compensate for with play-calling and coaching. Below is what I project the lineup will look like without guessing what the Titans will do with the second-round pick (the names in bold are additions made this offseason):

QB: Will Levis
RB: Tyjae Spears/Tony Pollard
WR: DeAndre Hopkins
WR: Calvin Ridley
WR: Treylon Burks/Kyle Philips
TE: Chig Okonkwo
LT: Joe Alt (1st round draft pick)
LG: Peter Skoronski
C: Lloyd Cushenberry
RG: Daniel Brunskill
RT: Dillon Radunz/Nicholas Petit-Frere

EDGE: Harold Landry
DT: Sebastian Joseph
DT: Jeffery Simmons
EDGE: Arden Key/Rashad Weaver
LB: Kenneth Murray
LB: Jack Gibbens/Otis Reese
CB: L'Jarius Sneed
CB: Chidobe Awuzie
SCB: Roger McCreary
S: Amani Hooker
S: Marcus Maye/Justin Simmons (projected signings)