It’s clear by now that the K.C. Chiefs aren’t going to be enjoying their top choice at left tackle heading into the 2021 regular season. From the outset of NFL free agency, the Chiefs made it readily apparent that veteran tackle Trent Williams was the preferred selection to protect the blindside of Patrick Mahomes. Unfortunately, despite clearing the requisite cap space and making an all-out effort to recruit him away from San Francisco, the 49ers ended up convincing him to re-sign for several more seasons.
In that moment, the Chiefs were forced to go with any Plan B that remained on the table. Those of us outside of Arrowhead Stadium aren’t exactly sure what that plan entails, even a full month after the failed attempt to lure Williams to K.C., but it seems as though everything beyond comes with considerable question marks.
If the Chiefs are looking at the current crop of veterans available, the injury concerns of Russell Okung or the lower ceiling of Alejandro Villanueva are about as exciting as things get based on current players available.
If the Chiefs want to go with an in-house option, the ceiling looks even lower considering that it will be either rookie tackle Lucas Niang switching sides and playing in the pros for the first time ever (after also taking a year off). Or perhaps the team decides to shove the likes of Martinas Rankin or Yasir Durant outside. Yeah, as we said, this isn’t good.
Trading for Orlando Brown remains the KC Chiefs best way to fix left tackle.
If the Chiefs wanted to draft someone, perhaps that’s the best play here, but of course, relying on a rookie left tackle to protect the game’s best quarterback could be quite the mixed bag moving forward.
While the likeliest solution will feature a blend of the aforementioned options, it all comes with considerable questions. That is, unless the Chiefs can convince an AFC rival to make a trade with them. If that’s the case, their best course of action would be to trade with the Baltimore Ravens for offensive tackle Orlando Brown, Jr.
Exactly one month ago, an unnamed source told NFL reporter Mike Garafolo that six teams had shown an interest in potentially trading for Brown. If that holds true today, four weeks later, then the Chiefs are likely on the outs given that fact that the Ravens have little incentive to make the Chiefs roster better, even if they paid a fair asking price. However with six suitors, that also means that any team who wins him is going to have to pay quite a bit in order to earn the rights to also pay him an handsome extension given that he’s finishing up his rookie contract in ’21.
Would the Chiefs be willing to trade their first-round pick in the upcoming draft for Brown? That wouldn’t be a bad move at all if you’re K.C. Instead of hoping you can snag the fourth to sixth best offensive tackle in the class, you get a guy who is a proven performer who is hungry to play the left side full time. In fact, he’s already done so at a high level for a contending team.
What if the Ravens ask for multiple picks? It might feel painful but the only major question mark on this roster is at left tackle. Even other areas like defensive end and wide receiver could be fixed with a veteran signing and certainly the Chiefs will also add more talent via the draft given that they have eight total picks. What if the Chiefs were to trade a 1st and a 4th? Would that get it done? That’s a solid haul for the Ravens for a player demanding a trade away, but it also leaves the Chiefs with six more picks to make over draft weekend.
Unless the Ravens are determined to either make it work with Brown for the long-term and convince him to play right tackle, or unless they’re refusing to work with the Chiefs in any way, a trade here make the most sense for K.C. in terms of fixing their greatest concerns. Yes there are multiple areas of the roster to address but only one could really stall the team’s plans from getting to a third consecutive Super Bowl. A trade for Brown would be an excellent consolation prize after the unsuccessful pursuit of signing Trent Williams.