No contract-year player has more to lose in 2022 than offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr.
Brown’s contract negotiations filled Kansas City’s offseason headlines, and rightfully so. The Chiefs traded for Brown following the terrible offensive line play in Super Bowl LV against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Chiefs general manager Brett Veach’s rebuild had a good hand, but Brown was the ace of spades. He brought the whole thing together, providing a solution in the short-term and hopefully longer as well.
Ultimately though, the two sides could not meet in the middle of this summer on a new contract. One thing that consistently came up was Brown’s wish to be paid as a top offensive tackle. Frankly, he had not performed to that level in a Chiefs uniform. Now, Brown will be playing on the franchise tag for Kansas City. While it still pays him a handsome amount, Brown’s peers are earning more with longer commitments. That is what Brown wants, not a one-year contract.
If Brown plays as well as he can, then he will be a top free agent at the season’s end. Around The NFL editor Gregg Rosenthal included Brown in his top ten free agents in 2023, placing him among several franchise players. All that hinges upon Brown’s 2022 performance, especially after a middling 2021 performance. PFF graded him as the league’s 28th-best offensive tackle in 2021, far outside the lofty payday Brown seeks. If Brown doesn’t do better in 2022, then his financial situation may not improve either.