Inside the L’Jarius Sneed deal

Titans cornerback L’Jarius Sneed believes he deserved to be the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL. Based on the details of his new contract, he’s not.

Per a source with knowledge of the terms, here are the full details of the new four-year deal, which pays out $19.1 million on average.

1. Signing bonus: $20 million.

2. 2024 base salary: $4.32 million, fully guaranteed.

3. 2024 per-game active roster bonus: $680,000, fully guaranteed (but must be earned).

4. 2025 base salary: $18.32 million, fully guaranteed.

5. 2025 per-game active roster bonus: $680,000, fully guaranteed (but must be earned).

6. 2026 base salary: $15.15 million, $11 million of which is guaranteed for injury at signing, and $7.5 million of which becomes fully guaranteed in March 2026.

7. 2026 per-game active roster bonus: $850,000.

8. 2027 base salary: $15.55 million.

9. 2027 per-game active roster bonus: $850,000.

The deal has a total average of $19.1 million, lower than the $19.989 million franchise-tag salary for 2024. But the cash flow is $25 million this year, and $19 million in 2025. (Of course, $680,000 of the cash in each of the first two seasons hinges on Sneed being on the active roster for every game.)

The $44 million in full guarantees at signing barely beats the two-year franchise-tag payout of $43.97 million. The deal is light on the back end, with $16.2 million per year in the final two seasons.

While a second season of the franchise tag wouldn’t have been guaranteed, Sneed arguably would have been better off taking the $19.989 million for 2024 and taking his chances in 2025.

If tagged a second time, he would have been free and clear in 2026. Under his new deal with the Titans, he’ll be committed for two more years.

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