Duane Brown has been one of the league’s best left tackles since entering the league as a first-round pick in 2008. But as he approaches another free agency, there are new questions about his age and even his performance. What type of contract could Brown snag in the 2022 free agent market?
Let’s be clear: Brown is still a solid NFL tackle. He ranks 33rd on Pro Football Network’s list of 2022 free agents (third among tackles). There will be a market, assuming Brown is OK signing a short-term deal.
Duane Brown: Free Agency Overview
Brown told reporters that he doesn’t plan on retiring but rather wants to return for a 15th season. Will that be in Seattle, his home since 2017? That’s his preference, but it’s not entirely up to him.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll suggested he wants Brown back. But words in December and January are not always supported by actions in March and April. The Seahawks’ offensive line does need an upgrade after allowing 46 sacks, the eighth-most in football.
Recapping Brown’s 2021 season
Brown made his fifth Pro Bowl in 2021 — second as a Seahawk –, but that might have had as much, if not more, to do with reputation as it did performance. This isn’t to say Brown was bad. He wasn’t. But he was far from elite. He allowed 8 sacks and committed 5 penalties.
In his free agency rankings, PFN NFL analyst Dalton Miller wrote the following:
“Duane Brown is a 36-year-old LT who started the season by playing poorly. He’d been one of the most consistent pass protectors in the NFL over the past few seasons. But minor injuries and technical issues hindered his performance early on.
“Things got better after the Seahawks’ bye week, but he’s still heading into his age-37 season. Brown is still a starting left tackle in the league. However, it’s difficult to figure out the value of a tackle that old, even if he’s remained relatively healthy over the years.”
Brown’s contract estimate and salary cap implications
Brown has (deservedly) made a fortune playing professional football. His career earnings? $82.8 million, including $50.5 million since his trade to the Seahawks in 2017.
Determining a value for Brown at age 36 is a bit tricky, but if he signs a one-year deal, he should accept nothing short of Andrew Whitworth money. Whitworth signed a three-year, $30 million deal at age 37. So, $10 million AAV should be the floor for Brown. The Seahawks, with $35.4 million in space as of Febuary 23 (seventh-most in the NFL), can certainly afford him.
Possible landing spots for Brown
If the Seahawks don’t keep Brown (which would be a bit of a surprise, considering their right tackle, Brandon Shell, is also a free agent), the pool of teams Brown would presumably consider at this stage of his career and need a left tackle is relatively shallow.
The Ravens, Dolphins, and Rams all make some sense. If Brown is willing to swing to the right side, a number of other teams would come into play.
What they’re saying
“I’m feeling healthy enough now, so I plan on continuing to play. Obviously, when I signed my extension, I said that I wanted to retire here. I didn’t know what I would feel like at 36, I didn’t know what I would feel like finishing my 14th year, and there are a lot of things to weigh out, but I would love to stay here. This is a business, and you don’t know quite how it’s going to shake out. Everything is not in my control, so we will see how that plays out.” — Duane Brown in January 2022