NFL Free Agency 2023: With Orlando Brown, the Ravens, Chiefs and Bengals all emerged victorious

Perspective – as they say – is everything.

So let’s talk about the story of former Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., who will now play for his third team: the Cincinnati Bengals.

Brown began his career as a right tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, where he played for two seasons.

Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

But after an injured star left tackle Ronnie Stanley in 2020, Brown was moved to the left side of the line, where he spent most of the season and won his second Pro Bowl.

With Stanley set to return in 2021, Brown requested a trade so he could continue playing at left tackle. The Chiefs – having released their two starting tackles after serious injuries sidelined them – were an ideal business partner.

Just days before the 2021 NFL Draft, Kansas City traded its 2022 first, third, fourth and fifth round picks for Brown, Baltimore’s second round pick and 2022 sixth round pick.

The Ravens traded two of their new picks. Along with the others, the team selected Odafe Oweh — a good spinning pass thrower who racked up eight sacks in two seasons — and guard Ben Cleveland, who could start in 2023 after signing Ben Powers with the Denver Broncos. . Ronnie Stanley still holds left tackle for Baltimore – and the team has some good answers on the right side: Morgan Moses and Patrick Mekari.

The Ravens must be happy with Brown’s career there. The 2018 third-round pick gave the team two good seasons at right tackle and one at left tackle — and then Baltimore was able to trade a disgruntled player and acquire two useful ones. It’s a victory.

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The Chiefs traded the sixth-round pick they acquired with Brown — but with the second round, they added an important player: linebacker Nick Bolton.

Brown, however, brought something the team’s offensive line desperately needed: stability. While in Kansas City, he may have always played at an average league level, but he started all but one game. He was instrumental in turning one of the team’s weaknesses into a strength, which ultimately helped them win Super Bowl LVII.

Yes… if the Chiefs could have kept Brown on a new contract, the trade to acquire him would have seemed more fulfilling. However, general manager Brett Veach knows that when building quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ contract, every dollar counts.

Now it looks like Veach read the 2023 deal correctly: Brown wanted more than the Chiefs were willing to pay. A year ago, he turned down an offer that was essentially $19 million a year for five years. Before free agency began, it’s likely Brown pushed for an even bigger deal with Kansas City.

Still, the Chiefs can also feel good about the trade. Depending on the draft value chart used, Kansas City gave up something between the 15th and 45th selection in the draft. With that, the team got two years of stability from Brown — and an exciting defensive playmaker for at least four years.

To put it another way, Brown may not have turned out to be the “Mr. Right.” But it certainly turned out to be the “Mr. Right away.”

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Bengals must also feel good about bringing Brown to Cincinnati.

For the past two seasons, the team has been held up short of a championship – at least in part – by a lack of depth and talent on its offensive line. (Sound familiar?) After waiting for the initial flurry of free agency moves – which exposed the reality of the market to Brown and his camp – the Bengals were able to sign their new durable left tackle to a four-year contract worth an average of 16 million dollars per year.

Essentially, the Bengals acquired a much-needed piece for their offensive line for a fair price.

The bottom line

The Ravens got plenty of value from Brown before gaining depth through the 2021 trade – and still have long-range answers at left and right tackle. For the Chiefs, the trade led to two seasons of stability on the offensive line – including a Super Bowl win – And a star linebacker. In Cincinnati, Brown brings an advantage similar to what he provided in Kansas City — and will continue to play the job he promised his late father to play.

It doesn’t happen often, but it looks like a win for everyone involved.

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