Why the Tennessee Titans must make a push to trade for L'Jarius Sneed

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

It seemed like the Tennessee Titans had moved on from a potential trade for L'Jarius Sneed last week, but not so fast. Reports over the weekend suggest that the Titans are still in the mix for Sneed, and they are potentially the front runners for him.

On Monday, Matt Verderame went on Kansas City radio and gave an update on what is happening with L'Jarius Sneed and his trade market.

You should listen to the whole interview (it starts around the 25:00 mark), but here are some key points that really stood out:

1. The Tennessee Titans were very interested in Sneed early in the process. Presumably, they made offers to the Kansas City Chiefs that were only turned down because Sneed wanted more money.

2. Teams like the Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts were interested, but have since moved on.

3. Sneed is sticking to his asking price of $22+ million AAV because he wants to be the highest-paid cornerback in the league.

4. The Chiefs and at least one team had agreed to a trade, but Sneed turned down an offer for 4 years/$80 million.

5. There are concerns about Sneed's knee, but they aren't major concerns and they haven't stopped teams from making offers.

A lot is going on in that 10-minute interview, but Tennessee Titans fans need to take all that in because Verderame mentioned the Titans more than any other team. The sentiment in that interview was that as the market dries up, there is a chance that Sneed will come down on his contract demands and could lean into that offer of $80 million over four years (I would assume that is even more true for the Titans who don't have to deal with state income tax).

We know the price tag (more on that in a minute), we know how good Sneed is, and we know that the Titans have the money, the question is what sort of impact could a trade like this have for a team in a rebuild?

This trade would make the Tennessee Titans offseason a massive success

After listening to this interview, it is clear what it will cost to land Sneed. The cost will be a 4-year/$80 million contract and draft compensation worth a 3rd-round pick. This deal only happens if the Chiefs accept the 38th pick for Sneed and the 64th pick or a 2025 3rd-round pick for Sneed.

One of those offers has to be what the Tennessee Titans had on the table for Sneed when a trade was nearly completed between the two teams last week. The Chiefs can pick whether they would rather have a pick later or a higher pick now, and whether you are looking at the Jimmy Johnson value chart or the Rich Hill value chart, that pick swap equates to a high third-round draft pick.

That seems like a fair deal to me, but if you think that is too much to give up for Sneed then think about where the Tennessee Titans are right now. Even after spending money like they have this offseason, they still have $45 million in cap space this year and they are projected to have $75 million next season.

After the signing of Sebastian Joseph-Day on Tuesday morning, the Titans now only need starters at a handful of positions, and one of those positions is cornerback. This trade would allow the Titans to fill that need with a blue-chip player and it wouldn't cost them a pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

If that need is filled, this is what the Titans to-do list could look like after the draft:

Needs filled:
-C: 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/$80 million ($20 million AAV)
-CB1: 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
-Safety: Marcus Maye (projected)
-LT: Joe Alt (first-round pick)

There would still be some work to do and decisions to make at right tackle and linebacker, but with all of that new talent, the Titans could stomach a year with Dillon Radunz or Jack Gibbens starting.

If the Tennessee Titans make this trade, they will have turned a two-year rebuild into a one-year rebuild and they will have the right mix of young talent, players in their prime, and veteran starters to put themselves in the mix for a playoff spot immediately.