Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle and franchise player Orlando Brown Jr. is not attending training camp and has refused to sign his franchise tag. Still, at least for the 2022 season, the only realistic outcome involves Brown eventually showing up in Kansas City.
After the Chiefs sent a draft draft to acquire Brown from the Baltimore Ravens last year, the 26-year-old offensive lineman may believe he has leverage — but he doesn’t. The Chiefs have all the cards in hand.
Orlando Brown Jr. is fighting a losing battle with the Chiefs
In April 2021, Kansas City snagged Brown, a 2021 second-round pick and a 2022 sixth-round pick from Baltimore in exchange for a 2021 first-, third-, and fourth-round pick and a fifth-round pick. in 2022. would have estimated that they had sacrificed the equivalent of the 45th selection overall to acquire Brown.
This would indicate that General Manager Brett Veach and the Kansas City front office are using the classic NFL trade values chart designed by Jimmy Johnson. Most teams in the league no longer use this chart because it greatly overstates early picks and places less emphasis on mid-round picks.
As one of the most analytically advanced teams in the NFL, the Ravens likely rate trades with a model closer to the Chase Stuart chart from Football Perspective or the Fitzgerald-Spielberger chart. Those charts ranked Baltimore’s comeback between the 20th and 25th pick in the draft.
If the Chiefs felt they had given up the equivalent of a mid-to-late first-round selection for Brown, they might have felt more pressure to extend him at all costs. Other NFL players have been able to use similar leverage to extract massive paydays after being shipped to new teams. But because KC thinks he gave up draft picks that were only analogous to a second-rounder, they probably didn’t feel pressured to give Brown everything he wanted.
Brown wanted a trade from Baltimore because he wanted to play left tackle, and the Ravens had already made Ronnie Stanley one of the highest-paid linemen in the NFL. Brown had the opportunity with the Chiefs, and while he was a solid blind protector for Patrick Mahomes, he wasn’t elite. Pro Football Network recently ranked Brown as the 19th best OT in the league.
Brown isn’t in the Trent Williams/David Bakhtiari class, but he wants to be paid the way he is. With no extension in sight, the Chiefs used the franchise tag on Brown in March, locking him in on a fully guaranteed one-year salary of $16.662 million in 2022.
Thus, the Ravens left Brown rather than pay him top-end money. The Chiefs, instead of extending it immediately, let Brown play out his contract year before rolling out the franchise tag in lieu of a long-term deal.
And what about the rest of the league? Kansas City used the non-exclusive franchise offer on Brown, so any rival team could have signed him to an offer sheet if they were willing to sacrifice two first-round picks. It would have been an exorbitant cost, but other players – Jalen Ramsey, Laremy Tunsil, Jamal Adams – have all been traded for two first rounds in recent seasons. It’s the price to pay for elite talent, but it’s clear the rest of the NFL doesn’t stand up to Brown in that regard either.
The Kansas City Extension Bid
After the Chiefs awarded Brown the franchise tag, they had until July 15 to strike a new deal with the former Oklahoma Sooner. Kansas City would have offered Brown a six-year, $139 million extension it would have made him the highest-paid offensive tackle in the NFL on an annual basis ($23.16 million) and included a signing bonus of $30.25 million. Sounds pretty reasonable, right?
Bad. KC’s offer contained an inflated salary of over $40 million for the past year which was only used to inflate the total value of the deal. Brown would never have seen that money. He could have received $95 million over the first five years of the contract, but that $19 million AAV would have ranked him only fifth in offensive tackles.
It was not a realistic proposition on the part of the chiefs and bordered on bad faith. Kansas City knew Brown wanted to be the highest-paid OT in the NFL, so they apparently used that against him in negotiations. This offer will make you the highest paid at your job – don’t look at the details!
What are Brown’s options?
Now that the July 15 franchise tag extension deadline has passed, Brown’s options are extremely limited. The Chiefs could give in and trade him, but any team that acquires Brown would put themselves in Kansas City’s shoes. Although he can’t sign a new multi-year deal, Brown could push the Chiefs to raise his salary in 2022 or give him a no-tag clause for 2023 – but KC has no incentive to accept either. other of these stipulations.
Brown has not signed his franchise offer, and because he is technically not under contract, he is not subject to any fines. He’s not in danger of losing any money outside of training camp. But as sources predicted to PFN’s Aaron Wilson, Brown’s resistance could last well into pre-season and into Week 1.
Brown can miss all the time he wants until Week 1, but if he continues to miss once the regular season begins, he’ll start hurting his wallet. As a former third-round pick, Brown only earned around $6.8 million during his career. It’s certainly life-changing money, but it’s not the kind of generational wealth he’s after, and Brown doesn’t have tens of millions in the bank.
For every regular season week Brown avoids, he would sacrifice about $925,000. At this rate, he would give up the equivalent of his career earnings before Kansas City’s Week 8 bye. It’s not a wise financial decision and it’s hard to imagine Brown going that route.
Brown’s best option is to play out the 2022 campaign and hope the Chiefs don’t tag him again next offseason — but the team can do just that. Kansas City could retain him from 2022 to 2023 at a cost of around $37 million over two years, and they may see that as a preferable avenue to a long-term deal.
Brown’s best-case scenario could follow the paths of Jaguars OT Cam Robinson and Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin, who were each franchised for a second straight year in 2022 before agreeing to an extension.
How can the Chiefs replace Brown (if that happens)?
If Brown decides to wave caution and hold the regular season, the Chiefs will have to find a new left tackle. Left guard Joe Thuney has the ability to move up one spot, but Andy Reid said Wednesday that Kansas City plans to keep Thuney where he is for now.
Roderick Johnson took first-team reps at left tackle during training camp, but he’s only played 610 career snaps and spent the entire 2021 season on the Dolphins’ practice squad. Meanwhile, fellow reserve Geron Christian has had nearly twice as many career snaps as Johnson, and he’s been an effective pass blocker for the Texans in 2021.
If the Chiefs decide to look outside the organization to replace Brown, they’ll find a surprisingly strong — at least for late July — free agent market. Eric Fisher spent eight years in Kansas City and knows the staff and program, while Duane Brown is also always available. Even Jason Peters, 40, who started 15 games for the Bears last season, said he wants to play for another year.