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Orlando Brown Jr. contract resolution is next step in Chiefs’ offseason plan

Kansas City hit Brown with the franchise tag earlier this offseason.

Kansas City Chiefs v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach spoke about a number of topics during his post-draft, state-of-the-team Zoom press conference on Tuesday — including the latest on free-agent defensive end Melvin Ingram, an injury update on cornerback Rashad Fenton, whether rookie Darian Kinnard can start at right tackle and notes on both cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. and undrafted free agent wide receiver Justyn Ross.

All are important pieces to the Chiefs’ ongoing offseason — one that has seen them rebuild the defense by moving on from key veterans and infusing it with youth. But one of the lingering questions ahead of training camp has to do with the other side of the ball: the status of left tackle Orlando Brown Jr.

In early March, we learned Brown was taking his time on contract negotiations after being tagged by the Chiefs. Before the NFL Draft, Veach told reporters he anticipated that talks would resume once it was completed.

On Tuesday, Veach elaborated on that update.

“Hopefully, we’ll pick up the Orlando Brown talk — and depending on how that goes and how that’s structured — it may allow for us to do something else or something that we’re not thinking of at this point,” said Veach, discussing what an extension may mean for more free agents joining the Chiefs. “I think in the next few weeks here the Orlando Brown contract stuff will pick up — and how that turns out may guide us in another direction in regards to what we can add before the season.”

As it stands now — under the tag — Brown would come with a $16.66 million cap hit for the 2022 season. A long-term contract extension would presumably create more space for the Chiefs to use on other role players they may be able to add.

At the time of this writing, Brown still does not have an agent — but that should change soon, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

Garafolo said that Brown’s camp is now going to “turn its attention” to figuring out a contract with the Chiefs.

“It’s still a long offseason — and like I said, when you have these drafts and all these players added, you’re going to have some counter moves and teams will start cutting players,” continued Veach. “They may have added a player or two at a position they weren’t thinking of, now suddenly they have a veteran there they can move on from or maybe they’ll listen to you. I think once you get through these rookie minicamps and these OTAs, talk will start to pick up again and some teams may call about certain players. I think the good thing for us is we have some flexibility here. We aren’t like, ‘Oh, we can’t do anything, we’re stuck.’

“We have picks next year, we have some money now — and depending on how Orlando plays out — we may have some additional resources depending on how all that is laid out. We always strive to have some flexibility and do what’s best for the team; we’re not going to make a move just to make a move. We’ve shown enough discipline over the years.

“I know we’re aggressive, but we’ve shown that we can be disciplined and let things play out. More than anything, as long as you have flexibility going into the season, I think you’re in a really good position. We’ll certainly take calls and listen and see what is out there.”

The moral of the story?

Veach and the Chiefs will continue to leave no stone unturned; it just seems like the Brown contract extension has to come first.

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