I'm Already Dreaming of Ryan Poles Targeting Franchise Tagged Players Who Didn't Get Extensions Today

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I’m Already Dreaming of Ryan Poles Targeting Franchise Tagged Players Who Didn’t Get Extensions Today

Chicago Bears

Since the Kansas City Chiefs and left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. couldn’t come to an agreement on a contract extension, Brown will play the 2022 NFL season on the Franchise Tag.

Back in June, the idea of playing on the tag felt like a long shot. That’s because Brown was publicly expressing optimism that he’d be signing a long-term deal at some point this summer. However, here we are a month later and there was no agreement. But it’s not as if there wasn’t a contract worth signing. It’s just that it wasn’t what Brown was hoping to sign.

NFL Network insiders Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero, as well as ESPN’s Adam Schefter, have details:

Earlier in the week, Garafolo was strongly hinting that he wouldn’t expect Brown to show up for the start of training camp and even went as far as to suggest that Patrick Mahomes’ blindside protector might not be in the trenches for Week 1. And because he has yet to sign his Franchise Tag tender, Brown won’t be subject to fines for missing camp. Moreover, because Brown hasn’t signed the tender, there might be some trade rumors that pop up between now and whenever he puts pen to paper. I’m not sure how a team would pull off such a deal without knowing that Brown will sign an extension with them when first eligible after this season ends, but the NFL has taught me to keep open all sorts of transaction possibilities — even the ones that make little to no sense. It’s been that kind of year.

In any case, I’m open to the Bears pursuing players who were given the Franchise Tag, but didn’t sign extensions. For example, tight ends such as Dalton Schultz and Mike Gesicki would make sense. Either would be tantalizing free agent targets if they’re not given a second tag from the Cowboys and Dolphins, respectively. Do the Bears need a stud tight end for Luke Getsy’s offense to click? Nah. But the league’s most prolific offenses have playmaking tight ends. Even if neither makes it to free agency, the market figures to include Austin Hooper, Robert Tonyan, O.J. Howard, Hayden Hurst, and Evan Engram. And with how the position has evolved, the Bears might be wise to flex their cap muscle and dabble in that market.

But even more so than the tight ends, I think it is worth having eyes on Brown’s situation. Firstly, there isn’t an offensive line position more important than left tackle. Brown could set the market at the position with his next contract. And considering the Bears’ needs at the position, we should be keeping tabs on who’s getting what.

I’m assuming Brown’s next deal will surpass the $23M AAV Trent Williams is getting from the Niners. And I feel even more strongly about that after reading commentary from Brown’s agent. There is a part of my brain that realizes the Bears (who project to have north of $96 million in cap space next offseason) can accommodate that type of contract for a worthwhile free agent left tackle. Meanwhile, the other part of my brain assumes the Chiefs will come to their senses at some point and cut a deal. But that they haven’t done so to this point opens that door ever so slightly for a team like the Bears. And I hope Poles is ready to bust through it if the opportunity presents itself.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.