NFL: Detroit Lions at Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs are looking to become the first NFL team to three-peat, but their journey to attempt to make Super Bowl history will not include a key member of their defense. The Chiefs put a franchise tag on cornerback L'Jarius Sneed before trading him to the Tennessee Titans this offseason.

The team was able to keep some other key players around, but after winning their second championship in as many years, difficult cuts had to be made. K.C. will have to make adjustments, and other members of the team will need to step up in his absence.

Cornerback Trent McDuffie commented on the team's plan to replace the impact Sneed had against opposing offenses, saying it will be a good chance for other players to become that star defender. McDuffie is looking forward to being one of those players.

The first-team All-Pro admitted that it was tough to see Sneed go, but believes the Chiefs still have those difference-makers in the locker room. 

"We all love LJ," McDuffie said (via The Athletic). "We're disappointed to see him go, but also excited for his new journey. For us, it just allows new guys to step up and take on a bigger role. I've got to step up and be more of a leader. That's exciting for me. I've had to speak up a little bit, especially with the rookies coming in and trying to learn this playbook."

McDuffie was the Chiefs' No. 21 overall pick in 2022 and has racked up 124 tackles, four sacks, six forced fumbles and 14 pass deflections in his two years with the team. If he can continue on this trajectory, he can make the loss of Sneed feel less significant. 

The defending champs also have 2022 fourth-round cornerback Joshua Williams and 2022 seventh-round pick Jaylen Watson who can help carry the workload along with McDuffie. They used a sixth-round pick to take cornerback Kamal Hadden in the 2024 NFL Draft

Sneed joined the Chiefs in 2020 as a fourth-round pick and played for the team for four years. During his time in Kansas City, he recorded 303 total tackles, 40 pass deflections and 10 interceptions. 

The Chiefs defense allowed the third-fewest receiving touchdowns in the league last season (19) and had the fourth-highest fumbles forced after receptions (six).