Orlando Brown Jr. was a big reason for the Chiefs' Super Bowl celebration in February. But the star left tackle is still without a long-term contract in Kansas City. And that may be the case for the foreseeable future. With 2023 free agency fast approaching, The Athletic reported last month the Chiefs are expected to use the franchise tag on Brown for a second straight offseason.
A four-time Pro Bowler, Brown is technically the Chiefs' top internal free agent, as Nate Taylor noted last month, but all indications are that he'll "never reach the open market." Brown earned a fully guaranteed $16.7 million under the tag in 2022. A second straight tag would boost those earnings by 120 percent, meaning he'd be due just under $20M in 2023.
"We went through this path last year," general manager Brett Veach said at the NFL combine, per Pro Football Talk. "As always, it's more beneficial for us to get something done long term. That's why this season is so important for us and really this is the start. We'll have a lot of dialogue; as you know, the combine is great to come in here and check out the new college talent, but a lot of the time here is spent talking with the agents of our players, so [we] start exchanging information. [And] unlike last year, I think we have at least a runway to work with. We've gotten to know his team a little bit better. We're excited to get that process started here and hopefully, we can get something figured out."
The Chiefs offered Brown a six-year, $139M extension prior to the 2022 season, according to ESPN, which would've made the former Ravens standout the NFL's highest-paid left tackle. But the two sides have failed to strike a long-term agreement ever since Kansas City acquired the veteran in 2021 as part of a blockbuster swap of six different draft picks.
The 49ers' Trent Williams is currently the highest paid at the position, earning an average of $23.01M annually. The Packers' David Bakhtiari ($23M) is the only other tackle -- left or right -- to earn at least $23M per year. It stands to reason Brown, 26, will once again look to clearly reset the market on a potential long-term deal, especially after earning his first Super Bowl ring.
Teams can apply the tag through March 7. Should tagged players sign their tenders, they have until July 15 to reach a contract extension, or else they're required to play the season under the one-year deal.
"I kind of stay out of that world [of contract situations]," Chiefs coach Andy Reid previously said of Brown and fellow lineman Andrew Wylie, per Pro Football Talk, "but I think both guys are very well liked here and I'm sure that [general manager] Brett [Veach] will surely make a strong attempt at keeping them here. But we'll see how that goes."