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Reports: No new Chiefs contract for Orlando Brown Jr.

If Kansas City’s left tackle plays in 2022, it will be on the franchise tag.

NFL: AFC Wild Card Playoffs-Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

According to multiple reports, the Kansas City Chiefs and their left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. will not reach an agreement on a new long-term contract before Friday’s deadline at 3 p.m. Arrowhead Time. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafalo, the two sides made an honest effort to get it done, but the negotiations fell short.

According to Garafalo’s colleague Ian Rapoport, the team “made a strong effort to get the deal done,” offering Brown an average of more per year than San Francisco offensive tackle Trent Williams.

NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero said that a six-year deal was on the table.

UPDATE at 12:27 p.m. According to Garafalo, the contract was actually worth an average of just $18.2 million over five years. The sixth year added $40 million — which would likely never be paid — to the deal. That additional year is what sent the APY of the contract into Trent Williams territory.

“We got really close,” Brown’s agent Michael Porter told Pelissero. “We [enjoyed] dealing with the Chiefs and we understand their position as well. I’m not gonna let these athletes sign a flashy contract without the substance or security there.”

But as our Pete Sweeney noted, the team felt it was important to maintain the salary discipline that it has established.

Sweeney also pointed out that the Chiefs still want to retain Brown as their left tackle, but were just unwilling to completely reset the market.

With no new contract in place, Brown will play for the Chiefs on the franchise tag in 2022 — if he plays at all — earning $16.7 million for the season. On Tuesday, Brown’s camp seemed to be saying that he would not play if a new long-term contract did not get done. But now that the negotiations appear to be over, that probably won’t be in his best interest.

So while it is still possible that Brown will hold out for some period of time, it’s more likely that he will sign the franchise tag and report to training camp, which will give him the best opportunity to turn in a top-level season that will give him the contract he wants — whether it’s with the Chiefs of another team.

UPDATE at 1:19 p.m. According to CBS Sports reporter Josina Anderson, Brown is still “weighing all options” about whether he will sign the franchise tag and report to Kansas City’s training camp.

Of course, all of that assumes this is the final word on the situation. It’s still possible that in the next few hours, the two sides could come back to the table and make a deal. But right now, it looks like there will be no long-term contract for Brown in 2022.

Brown, 26, is entering his fifth season in the NFL. Selected in the third round (83rd overall) in the 2018 NFL Draft, he’s been named to three Pro Bowls as both a right and left tackle — most recently on the left side for Chiefs last season.

Kansas City originally acquired Brown just days before the 2021 draft, trading a first, third and fourth-round pick (plus a 2022 fifth-round pick) to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for Brown, a second-round selection and a 2022 sixth-round pick. At the time — depending on the draft value chart that was used — it was reported that this was equivalent to giving up anywhere from a first-round pick (23rd overall) to a third-round selection (75th overall) for the left tackle.

With the exact position of those 2022 picks now known, we can calculate that the Chiefs gave up anywhere from the 17th pick (Fitzgerald-Spielberger draft value chart) to the 45th pick (Jimmy Johnson chart) to acquire Brown — although in the John Dixon AV-based draft value chart we published in April, it works out to the first pick of the second round (33rd overall).

Right from the beginning, it was clear that the Chiefs would either sign their left tackle to a new long-term deal or have him play on the franchise tag in 2022. General manager Brett Veach would have preferred to get Brown signed to a new deal before free agency began in mid-March.

“We’re going to work hard to get a deal done with him,” said Veach during his press appearance at the NFL’s Scouting Combine in early March. “Typically, the larger the deals the longer they take. We’ve been through that with Patrick [Mahomes] and Chris [Jones] and what have you. On one end, we’re going to work to see if we can get things executed as efficiently as possible, but we also know that it might take some time. We feel confident, though, [that] by the start of the season, we’ll be in a good place there.”

But the Chiefs were unable to get a deal done “efficiently,” so the team placed the franchise tag on Brown just before the league year began, thereby offering him $16.7 million for 2022 if a new long-term deal couldn’t be concluded before the July 15 deadline.

Then the issue was complicated by Brown firing his agent, which stalled any meaningful talks until he retained first-time NFL agent Michael Portner of Delta Sports Group in early June. Since then, there has been little direct news of any movement towards a contract — although all along, there have been reports that suggested the two sides might (or might not) be close to making a deal.

“He wants to be in Kansas City and wants to sign a long-term deal there,” Brown’s mentor (and former NFL offensive tackle) Jammal Brown told NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo in March. “He wants Kansas City to understand he’s the type of player who can be there for the rest of his career.”

But in the same interview, Brown’s mentor made headlines (and a lasting impression among Chiefs fans) with another statement about his friend. (Italics have been added).

“He wants to be a Super Bowl champ, a Pro Bowler, an All-Pro, a team captain, the highest paid at his position — and most importantly, the Walter Payton Man of the Year,” he said.

While that statement didn’t explicitly say that Brown wanted to be the highest-paid left tackle right now, it has been widely interpreted to mean exactly that — and his actions this week have certainly communicated that’s how he feels.

In early June, Brown himself hinted that might not be willing to play on the franchise tag. “It’s not the year to go into the season with a backup left tackle,” he told Garafolo and Shaun O’Hara during an episode of “NFL Total Access.” But in the same breath, he also said he was “very confident” he would make a long-term deal with the Chiefs.

While these headline-inducing statements have set the hair of many Kansas City fans completely ablaze, the Chiefs seemed to take them more in stride.

“Hey... listen: there are things that are said,” remarked head coach Andy Reid after Brown’s reference to the Chiefs playing a backup left tackle. “Half of it might not have been really said.

“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. 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.”

Reid then made it clear how he (and the rest of the Chiefs) felt about Brown.

“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.”

This time, that approach didn’t work. We’ll see what happens next time.

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