Kansas City made a surprising decision on Monday — but it’s probably the right one.
On Monday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs dropped a bombshell: The team decided that left tackle Orlando Brown Jr no Get the mark of excellence. If the Browns and Chiefs cannot reach an agreement on a new contract before 3pm Arrowhead time on March 15, he will become an unrestricted free agent.
This was a huge surprise to most observers – and many Chiefs fans. Going into this off-season, it was widely expected that the Browns would be tagged to the franchise again, ensuring that Kansas City would have a strong left tackle on their roster in 2023. Even if the team did not intend to give the Browns a trade Long term, I hope Pro Bowl Leaving a tackle on a one-year, $20 million contract isn’t a bad option.
But the bosses had a different idea. Sports Illustrated Albert Brier I reported that the team wanted to make a long-term deal for his left tackle, rather than pay $20 million for another one-year solution..
The Brier Report speaks volumes about contract negotiations. A contract offer the Browns had rejected a year earlier would have paid him essentially $19 million per season for five years. But now, Kansas City has refused $20 million for one year.
Brown probably thinks he can get more on the open market. two years ago, San Francisco 49ers Left tackle Trent Williams used free agency—particularly the Chiefs—to negotiate A.J Six-year contract worth $23 million annually with guarantees of up to $55.1 million. Brown – now six years younger than Williams at the time – maybe approached or exceeded this number. Maybe there is a team that gives him a big pay.
Unfortunately, this contract probably won’t come from the Chiefs.
At any point over the past two seasons has Kansas City seemed interested in paying Brown on the field. Now that it looks like he’s going to free agency, there’s no indication the team is putting in a bid this strong.
However, letting Brown walk seems baffling at first glance. The Chiefs invested a lot of start-up capital getting him — and allowing a Pro Bowl left tackle to leave without compensation is an outlier for a team Paid quarterback $500 million. In most cases, the team would tag the Browns back, hoping to reach an agreement on a new deal. But doing so may be more difficult than we thought.
Let’s say the Chiefs had the franchise tag Brown for trading him—that’s how the Chiefs acquired defensive end Frank Clark. But once the league year begins a week later than Wednesday, Kansas City must count the franchise’s $20 million mark under the salary cap.
Unfortunately, it takes some time to complete a trade. Clark was not traded until mid-to-late April, a month after most free agency transactions had taken place. So Kansas City had to go through free agency with $20 million of its buying power tied up in a player the team had no intention of keeping. It’s hard to be active in free agency with about 10% of your cap area basically gone.
Sure, the Chiefs could have swallowed the bullet by putting the Browns at the mark again, hoping to find a long-term solution in the draft. But while at the mark a year ago, Brown held out for offseason activities last year. It is possible that he would do it again – perhaps for a longer period.
He was left with one option: to let Brown walk.
There’s no silver lining to the Chiefs’ $20 million commitment to Brown being an unhappy player who has no plans to sign him long-term. Even if it’s a temporary option at left tackle, that’s a huge price to pay for someone you won’t keep after 2023.
None of this means Kansas City wont Re-sign the Browns before March 15th – or even during the free agency period. But now, it would be on chiefs terms. Kansas City appears to have set firm ground for the Browns’ value. It is now up to him to decide if he can accept this in order to stay with power competitor or find more money in the open market.
In my opinion, the bosses made the right decision.
We can argue about whether they should have waited that long for this solution – but if Brown can’t agree to team terms, there’s no sense in trying to find or negotiate a deal with him. While letting the Browns walk didn’t leave Kansas City without a clear answer at left tackle—both immediately and in the long run—the team now has more flexibility to address that issue.
With or without Brown, we must trust the presidents to find a solution.
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