Chiefs take a big risk by not tagging Orlando Brown, Jr.

Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs
Getty Images

In 2021, at a time when the Chiefs desperately needed an upgrade to their offensive line, they traded for left tackle Orlando Brown, Jr. Now, they’re giving him the ability to sign with any other team as soon as next Wednesday.

It’s a calculated risk for the Chiefs, but it’s still a risk. After applying the franchise tag in 2022, they faced owing him $20 million if tagged a second time, with the next step being that he’d become a free agent in 2024. So they decided to stop the year-to-year dance now, save the $20 million in 2023 cash and cap space, and take their chances with Brown potentially hitting the open market.

Albert Breer of noted on Monday that the Chiefs want a long-term solution at the position, and that they’ll consider all options. That’s fine, but what options are there when it comes to finding a high-end left tackle? They rarely hit free agency. They never make it to the bottom of round one.

Maybe the Chiefs think they’ll find a way to get Brown to stay. To take less than he could get elsewhere in order to continue playing with Patrick Mahomes, who already has a deal that leaves him grossly underpaid.

But other teams may take particular glee in the ability to weaken the Chiefs. They may overpay just to get Brown away from Kansas City, and to force the Chiefs to start over at the position.

If Brown leaves, the Chiefs will have gotten two seasons from Brown. To get Brown, the Chiefs gave up a 2021 first-round pick (No. 31 overall), a 2021 third-round pick (94 overall), a 2022 fourth-round pick, and a 2022 fifth-round pick. The Chiefs also got a 2021 second-round pick (No. 58 overall) and a 2022 sixth-round pick from Baltimore.

It’s easy to have faith in coach Andy Reid and G.M. Brett Veach. They’ve earned it, over and over again. Their abilities will be tested if they proceed without their top left tackle — and it won’t nearly be as easy as replacing their top receiver a year ago.

27 responses to “Chiefs take a big risk by not tagging Orlando Brown, Jr.

  1. They should trade for Laremy Tunsil, who needs a new deal anyway and doesn’t make sense to into his last year with Houston.

    What they gave up for him is irrelevant now, time to recoup some assets and move on.

    Once KC gets involved, the Bengals and Cowboys could make a phone call and drive up that cost.

    Late first should do it.

    Laremy is the NFL premier left tackle and he spent the last two years protecting Davis Mills.

  2. They don’t have the money to tag him. Go look at the Mahomes and Chris Jones 2023 cap hits.

    There’s your answer. It’s like 80 million in cap hits between 2 players. That’s terrible.

  3. They are drawing a hard line in the sand. Brown wants to be paid like a top 3 LT. THe thing is, he isn’t a top 5 LT,if you count RTs into the equation, he isn’t even top 10.

  4. Like 99% of the players it is only about the money, winning is always secondary. Going rate for a decent left tackle is $20 million a year, someone like Tunsil will push $30 million a year, Orlando will fall somewhere in the middle and like QB’s even average left tackles are hard to find and why half the league is always looking to upgrade that position with several teams just desperate enough they will over pay, which will make Orlando quite happy.

    Once Tyron Smith is cut by the Cowboys, Chiefs might get him with the money saved from cutting Frank.

  5. Definitely a risk but also a necessity. It’s more about the future rather than the upcoming season. Next year the Chiefs will have Creed Humphrey’s contract to deal with and this year Joe Thuney’s contract takes a big jump for his final 3 years. Brown is a good left tackle but he is not elite and elite money is what he wants. I see the Chiefs seeking out a left tackle in the draft and giving the big money to Humphrey next year. They have in-house options for right tackle and plenty of picks to move up or down in the upcoming draft to find their left tackle.

  6. The chiefs were probably the luckiest team in the history of the NFL last season. Very fortunate with injuries the entire regular season, got rewarded the first round bye with the Demar Hamlin deal. Then got helped by the officials in EVERY playoff game to the point the majority of fans now have serious doubts about the integrity of the game. What hasn’t been mentioned is even in the Jacksonville game Henne comes in and immediately gets gifts a 1st down on a 3rd and 12 ticky tack roughing the passer call, which leads to a TD. Next series Lawrence gets hit in the head on 3rd down but no call, BUT the defender is quietly fined by the NFL. Next series officials miss an obvious crack back block against KC which has Doug Pederson running onto the field.

  7. High-end OT David Bakhtiari made it to the bottom of three rounds and partway through a fourth. Rare, but it happens.

  8. The Chiefs have a lot of draft picks, a personnel magnet in Patrick Mahomes and a GM who is good at evaluating talent and making deals. OB has not consistently played up to the level for which he is seeking to be paid. Both he and Frank Clark contributed mightily this past season, but each new year is a challenge. The Chicken littles who predicted doom when Tyreek Hill was traded to Miami were proven wrong, but landing solid OL talent is harder than doing so with pass catchers. We’ll see.

  9. It’s one thing to overpay a truly elite player, like Mahomes or Kelce, but giving a slightly above average LT elite money is how teams get in big trouble with the salary cap. As a Chiefs fan, I’d like him to stay, but I don’t want to see the team give him top 3 money when he’s not a top 3 Tackle.

  10. Hey, they got a SB out of him — that eases the pain of the first round pick loss.

  11. touchback6 says:
    March 7, 2023 at 10:46 am


    Say it with me… “dynasty”.

  12. Time and again, over and over, Veach has engineered a solution. Cap is not a problem here. Paying top dollar for a middle of the road LT would be a problem.

  13. Chicago should be a primary bidder. He’s young and the Bears desperately need someone to protect Fields.
    Given cap space, this seems like a perfect fit.

  14. It’s not like he plays a premium position that people really covet in FA or anything

  15. “But other teams may take particular glee in the ability to weaken the Chiefs. They may overpay just to get Brown away from Kansas City, and to force the Chiefs to start over at the position.”

    Sounds like you’re saying that a team or teams may be willing to overpay Brown just for a chance to weaken the Chiefs. Sounds like an irresponsible move to me, but whatever. If the league wants to know how a move like that might work out, they need look no further than the Tyreek to Miami deal and the fact that the Chiefs are the current SB Champs.

  16. Drafting any position is no guaranty. Chiefs drafted Eric Fisher #1 overall and while serviceable, he was never a top 10 LT in the league. Brown was average at pass blocking and well below average at run blocking. Sure he’s young and proven, but the way Mahomes moves around, Brown would’ve given up 20 sacks if a guy like Phillips, Carr, or Brady were back there. So they can make an average LT work, and that’s what Brown is, average. You can’t pay top money everywhere, and especially a guy like OBJr. Those are the mistakes that will cost KC from winning SB’s and Veach has done an incredible job at drafting as well as managing the cap. KC let a top 3WR leave, and they got better…. Letting a top 15 LT walk is a walk in the park.

  17. There’s a reason the Ravens were fine to trade him.
    He is a fine player, but he truly overvalues his worth. Smart to let the market set his price.

  18. Saying that Patrick Mahomes, is grossly underpaid at $45 million doesn’t resonate with reality and doesn’t seem to bother the one who is grossly underpaid. If the Chiefs want to keep him the highest paid others will be cut and there will be less for everyone else. The Chiefs offered to make Brown the hightest paid LT last year but that wasn’t good enough. He wanted a million over the next guy.

  19. OB is decent in the passing game…but I really wish they would bring in some more road graders to pound the rock. Tired of seeing Mahomes having to play superman all the time. Would be nice to establish a legit run threat with Pacheco so PMH can take shots in the play-action game.

  20. Orlando Brown isn’t an elite LT but he’s been good enough to keep the Chiefs from having ugly games like the Bucs Super Bowl loss.
    Going backwards to that level of uncertainty at critical spot is a curious choice…

  21. Disagree with: “High end left tackles never make it to the bottom of round one.” Zeus himself was a third round pick.

  22. Whoever signs Brown will be overpaying. He is a giant stickman with horrible feet. Every rusher the OBjr faces is past him on the second step and Mahomes is flushed. Seldom the past two years has Mahomes seen a clean pocket with OBjr at left tackle. How he made the Pro Bowl is beyond me. Someone will throw big $$$$$ at him and then find out what a )urd he really is.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.