Orlando Brown Jr., the franchise tag, and what happens next
Let's tackle some FAQ regarding the situation with the left tackle and Kansas City, from the blame game to where things go from here.
Welp, there you have it. The Chiefs and Orlando Brown Jr. were not able to meet in the middle. Or… somewhere near the middle?
We’ll talk about the nature of the reported offers shortly (basically, the team offered a very big deal with some “prove it” safety net in there for them after 2 seasons), but first, let’s think about what this means in the big picture.
This was always a potential outcome when the Chiefs traded the equivalent of a very late 1st round pick (or early 2nd round pick, depending on how you gauge the value of draft picks) for Brown prior to the 2021 season beginning. The massive left tackle had a year left on a cheaper rookie deal, and with the Chiefs (wisely) not paying him prior to seeing him in their system, the franchise tag and some extended tense negotiations were likely on the table.
The whole thing was made a bit more complicated by Brown having a good-not-great season for the Chiefs, playing competently and improving throughout the year but falling short of being an elite-level left tackle. If you’ll recall, I charted multiple games throughout the season and came to the conclusion that he’s a good player with some limitations, but also has a tendency to perform well against top-tier competition (a valuable trait).
So… now what?
With the deal apparently dead, there are a number of questions people have regarding what happens next. Is a holdout likely? What are the Chiefs options if that happens? Who is to blame for this happening? What about next season? Now seems like a good time to address those questions head-on, all in one place, and figure out what things will look like in the coming weeks and months for the Chiefs and their (presumptive) starting left tackle. Let’s look at them one at a time, starting with the risk of a holdout.