Stop Dreaming About Orlando Brown
Orlando Brown was about to become the best free-agent offensive lineman available this offseason.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like he’ll even hit the market.
The Athletic’s Nate Taylor reports the Kansas City Chiefs are expected to give Brown the Franchise Tag.
In other words, if you were dreaming of the Chicago Bears bolstering their offensive line with a Super Bowl-winning left tackle whose main job the last two years was to protect Patrick Mahomes’ blindside, it is time to wake up. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.
By giving Brown the tag (again), the defending Super Bowl champs will keep Brown from reaching free agency for a second consecutive offseason. It’s a bummer for the Bears, but good for Brown’s short-term financial gains.
The Franchise Tag for offensive linemen is $18.244 million. Getting that on a one-year, fully guaranteed contract isn’t inconsequential. That is a fine chunk of change for one of the league’s best blockers. Brown played on the tag last year and put up a 75.4 overall grade at Pro Football Focus, which put him among the 20 best tackles in the league. In fact, Brown was tied with Bears rookie Braxton Jones for the 19th-best among offensive tackles. I suppose we can spin this as Jones keeping good company among the best tackles in the league. But, selfishly, I would’ve loved a line that had both. However, that tandem won’t happen once the tag becomes officially official.
Part of me held out hope that Brown would make it to the market. And that the Bears would jump into a bidding war with teams that didn’t have as much cap space as Chicago. If there is ever a time and place to flex that cap muscle, it is this offseason (and specifically, to bolster the offensive line). For what it’s worth, there is a silver lining in this news item. Brown not making it to the market makes it easier for us to focus on alternative options. Of which there are plenty, I’d like to add. Bringing in Brown might’ve been the sexiest option, but it wasn’t always the most realistic. There is an expectation the Bears will be active in free agency in addressing their offensive line needs. Brown leaving the market shouldn’t change that plan.