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Chiefs general manager Brett Veach: Re-signing DL Chris Jones, CB L'Jarius Sneed 'top of the list'

Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach knows he's got his work cut out to keep his Super Bowl defense together in 2024. 

As the Chiefs prep to take on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII, Veach told reporters his top goal is to keep Chris Jones and L'Jarius Sneed in K.C. 

"Sometimes I look at our situation and I'm like, 'I don't know how we're going to do this,' but we usually work through things systematically and have a list of the priorities," Veach said via ESPN. "Certainly, Chris and LJ are at the top of the list.

"It's extremely hard because you have two keystone players there."

They're not only keystone players: Jones and Sneed are top-10 free agents, both set for sizable contracts if they hit the open market. 

Jones is the heartbeat of the Chiefs defensive front, a group that would be lost without the behemoth's presence. The defensive lineman held out of training camp and the first game of the season, hoping for a new contract, but settled for a one-year sweetened deal. Spearheading the Chiefs D to the Super Bowl, Jones proved once again he's worth a massive salary.

Sneed isn't too far behind Jones' importance to the Chiefs' defense. His physical play fits perfectly into defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's system, and he's a corner who can match up with an opponent's No. 1. Sneed would get paid big time if he hits the open market. 

If the Chiefs can't stomach a franchise tag for Jones that would be north of $30 million, they could use it on Sneed to ensure he doesn't hit the open market (expected to be around $18.4 million). 

Those are the Chiefs' top two free agents, but they're not the only ones Veach needs to worry about on his defense. Linebacker Drue Tranquill, edge Michael Danna, linebacker Willie Gay Jr., defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi, safeties Deon Bush and Mike Edwards are also all set to be free agents. 

After years of getting by on defense, Veach and his staff have done a remarkable job stockpiling that side of the ball, making it one of the best units in the NFL this season. In a salary-cap world, that eventually comes with a cost. 

"I still remember in '17 and '18 just saying if we can just get them to punt just once we've got a shot," Veach said. "Now all of a sudden it's like all we've got to do is just score once and we're good.

"Going from where we were in '17 and '18 to having one of the best defenses, knowing the constraints we had of just paying [Patrick Mahomes] and probably drafting later [in rounds], I don't think I ever envisioned having a top one or two defense."

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