L'Jarius Sneed tag-and-trade return could revitalize Chiefs' draft armory

The Kansas City Chiefs should expect a sizeable return if they trade away cornerback L'Jarius Sneed.

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Recent tag-and-trade history

Looking at the past 10 years, there have been six players traded after receiving the franchise tag.

  • WR Jarvis Landry (2018) - Cleveland sends 2018 4th-round pick and 2019 7th-round pick to Miami
  • DE Frank Clark (2019) - Kansas City sends 2019 1st-round pick, 2020 2nd-round pick, 2019 3rd-round swap to Seattle
  • DE Jadaveon Clowney (2019) - Seattle sends 2020 3rd-round pick, Jacob Martin, and Barkevious Mingo to Houston
  • DE Dee Ford (2019) - San Francisco sends 2020 2nd-round pick to Kansas City
  • DE Yannick Ngakoue (2020) - Minnesota sends 2021 2nd-round pick and 2022 5th-round pick to Jacksonville
  • WR Davante Adams (2022) - Las Vegas sends 2022 1st-round pick and 2022 2nd-round pick to Green Bay

We aren't worried about who won which trade or how each player performed after the trade. We are looking for the value in each trade. The Clowney trade was an outlier, including two players and only one pick. For this exercise, we will omit it and break each trade down to pick value. Referencing this chart, this is how that breaks down.

The data suggests an upward trend in draft-pick compensation for players, even when considering higher tag values and contractual expectations. This is a promising development. However, there are a couple of factors that may hinder a significant return.

First, the pass-rusher premium facilitated those four defensive linemen being traded. No defensive back or linebacker has been traded in this scenario, making predicting a return more difficult. The newer trade idea drove down Landry's trade, for example, despite coming off three consecutive Pro Bowls and leading the NFL in receptions in 2017. Sure, 2017 Landry wasn't 2021 Adams, but still a good wide receiver in his own right.

The margin is small between the two, but Adams' massive return outweighed Landry's miniscule one.

Average NFL Draft Value Return
Average NFL Draft Value Return /

Secondly, Sneed lacks any of the accolades that the other tag-and-trade players had. Except for Clark, each player had at least one Pro Bowl appearance before being traded. On top of that, each posted higher AVs than Sneed's 6 in 2024, according to Pro Football Reference. Those are both imperfect benchmarks, but still worth noting.