Looking at every snap over 8 games throughout the 2021 season to see how Brown performed in a very different environment.
The subscribers over at KCSN were batting around Spotrac's contract prediction for OBJ of 5 years, $117 mil. I thought it was insane until I gamed out the numbers. He's clearly an above average left tackle. I would peg that value at about $18 mil next year. Add in 10% inflation per year to peg to the growing salary cap and here is his yearly breakdown - $18 mil, $19.8, $21.9, $24, $26.4 for a total of 5 years, $109.8 mil. Fans should be prepared for a big number but, in reality, it will probably be the correct evaluation of him as a player.
Great article Seth. Definitely picked up on the improvement between Mahomes and his line as the year progressed. It seems to me that the interior OL is a perfect complement to Brown's weakness too. So I think it makes Brown a very good fit in pass protection. Run game is a different story. Chiefs love outside zone and our tackles were pretty bad at it. Hopefully the Chiefs run power more. It fits everyone but Thuney really well it seems.
Obviously, the dollars and years matter. I don't think he deserves to or would exceed the Williams deal with the 49ers, but a long-term deal likely makes him the second highest paid left tackle in the league for a while.
The one piece of leverage the team has is the franchise tag. Brown has a ton of leverage given the investment we have already made to acquire him and in Mahomes of course. I think he will likely be tagged and the negotiate a deal much like what happened with Jones two years ago.
Great work, Seth.
A team as good as the Chiefs should not be able to acquire their long-term left tackle from a conference playoff rival, but Veach exploited an unusual situation and pulled it off. While I think Trent Williams is the best athlete in the NFL, I am glad we didn't pay him $24MM/yr if he didn't want to be in KC. We're on the right side of the value curve at several key positions, and LT is just one where we're going to have to pay market value for a good but imperfect asset in the interest of stability. Andy Heck deserves a ton of credit for getting Brown up to speed so quickly and helping keep him from being the penalty machine I was prepared for. I will be surprised if we don't see meaningful improvement next season, too.
I also appreciate your note about the RT spot impacting Brown, and Mahomes' need to self-scout for habits picked up from playing behind an irreplaceable Hall of Fame RT in Mitchell Schwartz. Mitch was sorely missed at times, and Heck did an amazing job getting 2 new tackles up to the level he did while replacing the interior as well. That is not talked about enough.
My initial thought when the trade was announced was "Why?" With the Ravens widely regarded last year as a top challenger to the Chiefs' AFC dominance, why would they trade a Pro Bowl tackle to the team they're trying to catch that happened to be desperate for tackle help? They basically erased the Chiefs greatest offseason weakness while removing a difficult to obtain asset from themselves.
My second thought was, "Hell, yes!" The Chiefs were facing the specter of replacing both starting tackles, clearly a daunting task, yet half of the equation was solved in one fell swoop. Had they decided to instead invest in a tackle with last year's #1 pick, the odds of finding the equivalent player are miniscule and certainly not a rookie tackle.
A year later, it looks even better. The concerns about the transition to the Chiefs' style of offense from the Ravens were quickly abated by Brown's steady improvement and Mahomes' adjustment to the new line in general, and specifically to Brown's strengths. I'm hopeful that he and the Chiefs are able to agree to terms of an extension this offseason as the price is only going to go up and doing the contract now gives the team more flexibility to address the pass rush and secondary now.
Great article and great conclusion. He’s not Trent Williams but who is. The one thing he has over him? Durability. I have zero problem doing an extension with him because of that and in a weird way the way he wins seems to protect his body. The other reason is the opportunity to use the tag. If we extend him we can tag Mathieu if we want this year and Tyreek next year if we need to. It would be dumb to do this song and dance all over again and wish we could tag both him and Tyreek next year.
No TLDR here. I read the whole thing. I like your long articles with explanations and observations. Speaking of which I recognized something about why I thought Brown was struggling more than he actually did. You pointed out how we fans got used to watching Fisher and never really saw him chasing a defender at the top of the arc. See it all the time with OBJ. 💡 moment.
Orlando Brown Jr. does not have the body I would expect out of a top tier pass rusher (Eric Fisher either, for that matter) but I've learned to trust your expertise...
The best thing about Brown are his dominant wins. It's hilarious to watch the best pass rushers in the league get rag-dolled and thrown to the ground. They get up and act like they're not embarrassed, but we all know they are. I literally laughed out loud at some of his best snaps this year. 🤣
I don't know how to frame the question, but thinking about Chiefs LTs reminded me of one of my dark horse least favorite Chiefs of yesteryear, Branden Albert. High draft pick, whiny, injured and penalty-prone for his alleged talent.
Please tell me Brown is better than Albert.