Back in March, the Kansas City Chiefs placed the franchise tag on their free-agent left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., thereby committing themselves to either working out a long-term deal with the fifth-year player or paying him a guaranteed salary of $16.7 million for 2022.
Going into the NFL Draft, Kansas City general manager Brett Veach said that he expected to get into serious negotiations with Brown’s camp following the draft — that is, as soon as Brown had made up his mind on a new agent.
That didn’t happen until a week ago, when we learned that Brown would henceforth be represented by Michael Portner of the Delta Sports Group — who will be negotiating his first NFL contract.
Then while appearing on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access” on Tuesday, Brown dropped a hint: that if a long-term deal doesn’t get worked out before the July 15 deadline, he might consider not playing under the tag.
“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’s remark caused quite a stir among Chiefs fans — but Andy Reid is letting it slide off his back.
“Hey... listen: there are things that are said,” the head coach observed to reporters following Thursday’s next-to-last OTA session. “Half of it might not have been really said.”
Characteristically, Reid didn’t criticize Brown for the hint, choosing instead to emphasize how the Chiefs would approach it from their side.
“My thing is [that] you just try to do what you have to do to make it right — and be as honest as you can,” said Reid. “We’re quiet about that. We try to do everything with the person we’re involved with — and not tell the world about it. That’s how we go about business.
“Our guys are always very honest and deliberate, which I think is a great way to go — and something Clark [Hunt] believes in. Fair for the player... fair for the team... let’s roll. And that can be done with a good working relationship.”
And Reid made it clear that from the Chiefs’ perspective, the priority is to get a deal done.
“We love Orlando here,” he declared. “He’s a good human being. He’s a good professional; he’s grown up around it. I think he’s got good counsel. So we’ve just got to work through it.
“I don’t see anything that’s going to get in the way there. Just have the guys working together, keeping everything open — like any other opportunity you have to do deals with players.”
While noting that deals like this one don’t usually get done overnight, Reid confirmed that talks between Veach and Portner are underway.
“He’s talked to the people that are working with Orlando,” he reported. “And they’ll keep doing that. So it’s good that he’s taken that step forward, for sure.”