Ex-Chiefs Staff Member Could Steal Orlando Brown Jr. in Free Agency

The Kansas City Chiefs surprised many among the fanbase when they elected not to franchise tag left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. for the second straight season.

NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero revealed the news at the time, stating: “The Chiefs don’t plan to use a second franchise tag on LT Orlando Brown Jr., per source. That means Kansas City has until Monday to work out a long-term deal with Brown, or else he’ll be free to negotiate with other teams.”

It’s expected that KC general manager Brett Veach is planning to let Brown test the free agent market, which could end up working out in the Chiefs’ favor — or blow up in their face. Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine is expecting the latter, naming the Chicago Bears as a potential suitor for the Super Bowl champion blindside blocker.

NFL Writer Pushes Bears to Sign Chiefs LT Orlando Brown Jr. in Free Agency

During an article predicting “realistic dream signings” in 2023, Ballentine connected Brown to the Bears and former Chiefs executive Ryan Poles — who is now the general manager in Chicago.

“If the Chicago Bears intend to move forward with Justin Fields at quarterback, then setting him up for a leap in Year 3 has to be their top priority,” Ballentine explained. “Fields showed what he can do as a runner in 2022, but his ceiling is going to be determined by what he can do as a passer. In order for him to develop in that department, the protection and surrounding weapons have to improve.”

That’s where Brown comes in. “This is a class light on difference-making wide receivers, so the biggest fish the Bears can catch is Orlando Brown Jr.,” the NFL writer went on. “He would give them a level of play they didn’t have at left tackle last season. Brown only allowed four sacks at left tackle last season. From Week 10 on, he had the third-best PFF pass-blocking grade among left tackles. Brown is [also] an earth-mover in the run game and has experience blocking for Lamar Jackson from his time in Baltimore.”

Don’t forget the Chiefs ties with Poles, who had a hand in trading for Brown in 2021 before being hired by the Bears in 2022. Ballentine concluded that a Brown acquisition by Chicago “makes too much sense to pass up.”

Chiefs Analysts Torn on Orlando Brown Jr. Return

The editors of Arrowhead Pride, KC media member Pete Sweeney and John Dixon, host a podcast together called the “AP Editor’s Show.” During a Twitter clip from the show on March 8, the pair discussed the idea of Brown returning in free agency.

With the franchise tag deadline behind us–and the #Chiefs officially releasing Frank Clark, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of Kansas City’s offseason plans. #APEditorsShow@pgsween | @Arrowheadphones pic.twitter.com/EiBQ02JlBE

— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) March 8, 2023

“I’ll say no on Brown,” Sweeney began while discussing whether or not the left tackle will be on the roster in 2023. Dixon disagreed with this assertion, however, voicing: “I think yes. I think that he’s going to go out there and find out he can’t get what he wants [financially], and he’ll come back to Kansas City.”

Dixon added that Brown has “made it clear he likes it here,” going as far as to say that there’s a “good chance” he ends up back with the Chiefs after testing the market.

Later in the conversation, Sweeney admitted that he agrees Brown does appear to want to stay in Kansas City — similar to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster — but believes that the left tackle will take the money at the end of the day. On the contrary, Sweeney noted that he thinks Smith-Schuster is more likely to pass up more money if it means staying with Patrick Mahomes II on a competitive contract.

The discussion on Brown lasted most of spring and summer last offseason, but it could be a quicker deliberation this year if a team like Chicago shoves a blank check in the O-tackle’s face. We should know more about his market and price tag when the legal tampering period begins on Monday, March 13.

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