Left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., currently the unsigned franchise tag player of the Kansas City Chiefs, appeared on NFL Total Access on Tuesday. After recently hiring agent Michael Portner, Brown and the Chiefs appear set to spend the next month negotiating a long-term contract. If Brown and the Chiefs do not agree on a long-term deal before the league’s July 15 deadline, he will have to accept the approximately $16.7 million tag value for offensive linemen to play this season. He would then reenter free agency in 2023.
Brown appeared confident a deal will get done — mostly because he feels the Chiefs have no option but to sign him.
“Very confident. Very confident,” Brown told Mike Garafolo and Shaun O’Hara when asked his level of confidence in regard to a deal getting done. “Especially simply based off the things that have come into effect within our division, the type of defensive ends that have been brought in, the type of players and all of that type of stuff. It’s not the year to go into the season with a backup left tackle. So, I’m very confident that the Kansas City Chiefs will get that done.”
Brown is correct that the other three AFC West teams aggressively targeted pass rushers this offseason. The Los Angeles Chargers acquired Khalil Mack, the Denver Broncos signed Randy Gregory and the Las Vegas Raiders signed Chandler Jones. The newcomers to the division will be paired with Joey Bosa, Bradley Chubb and Maxx Crosby, respectively.
While a confrontational tone may be inferred from Brown’s opening remark, he spoke glowingly about his first year with the team — praising Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and offensive line coach Andy Heck for the success of the totally rebuilt offensive line. He also commended quarterback Patrick Mahomes for being able to work with a new set of blockers.
“What (offensive line) coach [Andy] Heck was able to do with us as a unit, what we were able to do as a unit on the field as far as production, and the comfort that Pat was able to develop — it all was a tribute to the success of us as a whole. The way that coach [Andy] Reid was able to call plays and really use his personnel that we have up front to the best of his abilities. I’m sure as time goes, those things will continue to get better.”
Brown has not participated thus far in the team’s offseason program. Because he is technically unsigned, Brown is also unlikely to participate in next week’s mandatory minicamp unless a long-term agreement were to unexpectedly come together quickly.
While away from his teammates, Brown is training at a private facility in Miami. The three-time Pro Bowl selection addressed a recent clip that showed him playing tennis as part of his training.
“Really just helping developing that footwork and that feel. Just really getting that feel and understanding how my body moves — using my hips. Something that’s underappreciated at our position is hand-eye coordination. I know we’re not catching the football or anything like that. Being able to see a target and hit a target.”
Brown is placing a high amount of faith in Portner — who has never negotiated an NFL contract. Between the player wanting to be in Kansas City — and the Chiefs having already invested heavily in acquiring him — perhaps the factors are in place for smooth negotiations over the next few weeks.