New England Patriots

Should Patriots pursue trade for Chiefs CB L'Jarius Sneed?

There's an underrated need the Patriots should address this offseason.

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There's been plenty of oxygen devoted to the New England Patriots' offensive needs, and with good reason. The offense was far more responsible for the team's 2023 struggles than a defense that allowed 20 points or fewer in seven different games.

But the defense could use some upgrades as well, and the Patriots apparently have interest in one intriguing option: Kansas City Chiefs cornerback L'Jarius Sneed.

The Chiefs placed the nonexclusive franchise tag on Sneed, which allows him to talk to other teams about a potential trade. According to USA TODAY's Tyler Dragon, seven teams already have expressed in Sneed -- one of which is the Patriots.

A source told MassLive's Mark Daniels that New England's interest in Sneed was more "due diligence" and doesn't seem "serious" at the moment. But even that marginal interest speaks to one of the Patriots' underrated needs for 2024.

As our Tom E. Curran pointed out in his 2024 Patriots defensive back reset, New England would benefit from adding a starting-caliber outside cornerback to play alongside Christian Gonzalez. Outside corners Jack Jones and J.C. Jackson both are off the team after troubled 2023 campaigns, and while Jonathan Jones held his own as a boundary corner, he's better suited to play the slot.

At 6-foot-1, 192 pounds, Sneed fits the mold of a tall, rangy outside cornerback who excels in man coverage and can hold his own against bigger receivers. The 27-year-old allowed just 1.04 receiving yards per snap in man coverage last season, per Pro Football Focus, which ranked 13th out of 97 qualifying cornerbacks.

Sneed's price tag might be too high for a trade to make sense -- Daniels speculated the Chiefs may ask for a second- or third-round pick -- but he's the type of cornerback the Patriots should target via trade, free agency or the NFL Draft. Curran suggested a reunion with the 6-foot, 190-pound Stephon Gilmore in free agency could make sense, while there are several talented cornerbacks in the 2024 draft class, as well.

The Patriots' biggest needs remain at quarterback, offensive tackle and wide receiver. But don't sleep on their search for an outside cornerback, which apparently already has begun.

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