The 2023 NFL free agency period will bring a furious pace that sees top names move quickly. Half the league has a significant amount of money they’re working with, and it’s not an especially deep crop of talent available. That means the stars will cash in since there aren’t viable alternatives to paying the best veterans.
The top tackle who could reach the market is Orlando Brown. The Kansas City Chiefs traded a multitude of draft picks to the Baltimore Ravens for Brown prior to the 2021 season, and then franchise tagged him last year as they couldn’t reach a long-term deal. Kansas City offered a six-year, $139 million deal that had no guaranteed money after the second year, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Chiefs general manager Brett Veach told reporters at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine that using the franchise tag is “an option” again. If they don’t, Brown will have an interesting free agency ahead of him.
Let’s dive into Brown’s free agency landing spots and his market value.
Orlando Brown Free Agency Predictions
Commanders Solidify Blocking With Brown
Washington has a healthy amount of cap space entering this offseason, and they’re always prone to throw money at their problems. Going after Brown is justifiable, especially as they can cut Charles Leno Jr. to save $10.25 million with a June 1 designation, and then reallocate that money to Brown. Brown is a big enough upgrade talent-wise to be worth big cap hits in future years.
The Commanders have to continue investing in their offensive line. There’s no reason why the team finished 28th in yards per carry outside of dealing with an inadequate line. Both Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson are good enough rushers to take advantage of available rushing lanes, but the Commanders had none.
MORE: 100 Top NFL Free Agents 2023
Washington also has to beef up their pass protection, as they allowed the seventh-most sacks in 2022. Second-year quarterback Sam Howell will have zero chance to develop without an upgrade in talent in front of him or a running game to rely on.
Commanders head coach Ron Rivera has always favored an effective ground game, so prioritizing the trenches makes sense. Brown is the only sure-upgrade left tackle on the market for him to replace Leno.
Chargers Protect Justin Herbert With Brown
Brown shouldn’t want to reach the market if he’s only willing to accept a left tackle job somewhere, even if he’s not paid like a right tackle. There aren’t many teams with a clear left tackle opening and the cap space to spend on the biggest deal in NFL history at the position. More options could emerge if he’s willing to take a blank check and play right tackle.
It would be possible for 2021 first-round pick Rashawn Slater to move from the left to the right side, so internal evaluations would help decide what’s the best plan of action if the Chargers signed Brown. Either way, improving right tackle after injuries kept Bryan Bulaga from ever making an impact on the Chargers is a must. He played 11 games over two seasons.
Brown is durable and a powerful blindside blocker as opposed to Slater’s more athleticism-based game. Considering Slater was projected to be a right tackle by some teams out of the 2021 draft, the Chargers can take advantage of him being on a rookie deal and splurge on Brown.
The hardest part for Los Angeles will be carving the cap space to sign Brown’s mammoth salary. They may have to part ways with or restructure aging vets Keenan Allen and Khalil Mack just to get under the cap. Fully leveraging this roster to go after Brown will have significant ramifications later.
Titans Revamp Offensive Line With Brown
The Titans parted ways with franchise left tackle Taylor Lewan after he missed 15 games in 2022, five games in 2021, and 11 games in 2020. Though Brown is stylistically a much different player than the tremendous athlete Lewan once was, Brown is more durable and still relentless as a run blocker.
No team has a weaker set of tackles than the Titans do entering this offseason. 2022 third-round pick Nicholas Petit-Frere looked as raw as he did in college throughout his rookie season. The Titans can’t expect to compete if they simply run it back with a similar line as last year’s.
Though Tennessee doesn’t have a ton of flexibility with their cap situation, they can make a couple of splash transactions with reasonable moves. They’ll also need to add playmaking at receiver and bolster their defensive depth without splurging on more than one star-level individual. Making Brown their big acquisition and then drafting a playmaker in the first round is justifiable.
Orlando Brown’s Market Value, Career Stats, and More
Pass blocking will always be immensely valuable. At only 26 years old, Brown has only allowed 14 sacks in almost 3,000 pass-blocking snaps through five seasons. That’s why he’s our No. 10 free agent this offseason.
Though Brown sought a trade from the Ravens because he wanted to be paid as a left tackle and not a right tackle, it’s possible some team wants him back on the right side and pays him like an LT. The top three left tackles earn $22 million or more, whereas the top three right tackles make between $18 million and $19.2 million per year.
MORE: Highest-Paid Offensive Tackles in the NFL
Spotrac.com valued Brown at $22.4 million per year. Even though he’s athletically challenged and speed rushers will always give him some problems, Brown is productive as a pass blocker and a mauler in the run game.
With the draft class not being especially strong at the tackle position outside of the top three names, I’d expect Brown to reach the $20 million-a-year mark, and possibly become the highest-paid tackle in the NFL if he hits the open market. He’d need to top Trent Williams’ $23.01 million average to get there.
His rejected six-year, $139 million offer would have gotten him there, but Brown rightfully wants guarantees beyond the second season as other elite players get.
Orlando Brown Career Stats
- Games Played (Started): 81 (75)
- Pro Bowls: 4
- Penalties: 21