Steelers can no longer afford to get in on the L'Jarius Sneed sweepstakes

L'Jarius Sneed would have been an ideal CB for the Steelers to sign this offseason, but a trade is no longer feasible.

Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a desperate need at cornerback opposite Joey Porter Jr. Despite striking gold on Porter with their 32nd overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, and aging Patrick Peterson proved to be a disappointment, while veteran Levi Wallace was unplayable last year and ultimately benched.

The good news is that there appeared to be plenty of options on the horizon to upgrade the position. The outlook in both free agency and the NFL Draft seemed very encouraging, and fans were optimistic that they could land a stud to pair with Porter in the secondary.

Unfortunately, one of the top names may no longer be an option for the Steelers.

L'Jarius Sneed was supposed to be one of the top players on the free agent market during the 2024 offseason, but all of that changed with the Kansas City Chiefs slapped the franchise tag on their star cornerback. Now it appears that the Chiefs will attempt to trade Sneed. Sadly, the Steelers can no longer afford his services.

Steelers can't stomach a pricey trade for L'Jarius Sneed

There's no question that L'Jarius Sneed would be an incredible upgrade at cornerback over what the Steelers have on their roster. Thanks to his combination of size, speed, and physicality, Sneed proved to be one of the best press and man-coverage cornerbacks in the NFL last year. He was a huge part of an impressive Chiefs defense that helped earn a Super Bowl win this year.

But as good as Sneed is, a trade for the remarkable cornerback will now be impossible to justify.

Had the Chiefs not slapped the franchise tag on Sneed, the Steelers would have simply been looking at a bidding war in free agency. While Pittsburgh wasn't likely to emerge as the victor, there was still a possibility that they could get the star cornerback locked up to a lucrative deal. Now there's no chance of this happening.

After tagging Sneed, the Chiefs were reportedly looking to trade the 27-year-old cornerback for a first-round pick. Since then, Ari Meirov of The 33rd Team believes that a second-round pick would get the deal done.

This is an issue for the Steelers. Not only would Pittsburgh be forced to part ways with one of their top draft selections in an impressive 2024 draft class, but they would also have to turn around and make Sneed one of the highest-paid defensive backs in the NFL.

At the moment, Omar Khan and the front office are already handing out a large portion of their total salary cap to defensive players like T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Alex Highsmith. Can they really afford to add another top-tier contract like Sneed is projected to get?

There was little hope that Sneed would land on the Pittsburgh Steelers, but knowing that draft capital must now be involved in the trade, there isn't a chance that the pricey cornerback would end up in The Steel City. Start looking at other options; we can kiss this dream goodbye.