On Monday, it became clear that the Kansas City Chiefs would not be using the franchise tag on left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. — a fairly surprising revelation considering the widely-shared belief that this would happen. Kansas City had the last seven days to do so.
Now, with the passing of the NFL’s deadline at 3 p.m. Arrowhead Time on Tuesday, March 7, the franchise window has closed, making the decision not to tag Brown official.
What does this mean?
Brown is due for unrestricted free agency at the start of the new league year.
When does that happen?
Brown officially becomes a former Chief and free agent on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, at 3 p.m. Arrowhead Time, though other teams can begin talking with Brown and his representatives on Monday, March 13, at 11 a.m. Arrowhead Time — the start of the “legal tampering” period.
Can the Chiefs still strike a deal with Brown before the new league year?
The Chiefs still maintain exclusive negotiating rights with Brown until the aforementioned “legal tampering” period, but a deal seems highly unlikely at this stage.
Why did the Chiefs opt to forego the tag?
Signed or not signed, the tag would have cost the Chiefs $20 million against their 2023 salary cap, and that would not have come off the books until sometime in the summer when the two sides came to a long-term agreement (at the time of this writing, the Chiefs’ 2023 salary cap stands at $17.8 million). If they didn’t (again), the $20 million would have stood for another entire season.
Now, Kansas City can be a player in free agency.
Brown can see if one of the other 30 teams (probably not his former team, the Baltimore Ravens) is interested enough to offer him the contract he wants in order to play his desired left tackle position — letting the open market drive the talks.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs can remain cautiously optimistic something will work out with Brown — and remain flexible.