John Harbaugh Explains Trading Orlando Brown Jr. to Chiefs

John Harbaugh

Getty John Harbaugh reacts to play on the field amid the Ravens playoff defeat.

The Baltimore Ravens made a move that many were likely confused by, dealing Orlando Brown Jr. to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a draft pick haul.

So why make the move to deal Brown to a major AFC rival? It’s a question that likely prevented plenty from understanding the deal from the Baltimore perspective. Even such, the franchise’s brain trust has an answer for the move and it’s a decent one.

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Speaking this week on the Rich Eisen Show, Harbaugh explained that the trade was a tough one to make given what Brown meant to the team. Even such, the haul the team was able to get outweighed some of the negative feelings about the move.

He said:

“Orlando will always be a Raven. His dad was a Raven. Three great years here with him and I love him. He’s a football player and he played left tackle for us when Ronnie (Stanley) got hurt. He’s a great guy, he’s a hard worker and he feels like he has something to prove. For us, we knew he was going to be a left tackle. We had re-signed Ronnie a year before, Ronnie was a year or two ahead of him in terms of contract pecking order. I think he understood that there wasn’t going to be a long-term left tackle opportunity here. Then when he got a chance to play, I think people saw it. It wasn’t something we were thinking about doing necessarily. It got teams interested and we waited to hear. Kansas City was the one with the best offer and it made sense. We got a lot we’ll be able to use moving forward that are assets that are great for us. I feel like we have to find a way to replace Orlando this year and hopefully that’s a place he can do well long-term for his career, and unfortunately we’ll have to play against him but you have to play everyone in the NFL.”

It’s tough anytime a franchise has to trade a team mainstay, but that is life in the NFL. If the Ravens end up playing the Chiefs down the line, the team will simply have to beat Brown and go through him.

When the trade is explained this way, it makes tons of sense.

Ravens Don’t Have to Panic Replacing Brown Jr.

What’s next for the Ravens in terms of replacing Brown? Rumors have held that the team would like to add an offensive lineman from free agency to the mix, and Alejandro Villanueva could be the leading candidate to do this. The Ravens also had a player in Dennis Kelly visiting last week, so it seems as if the team will look to make a veteran signing at the spot, then perhaps draft someone who could be the right fit.

Regardless, the Ravens don’t have to make any dramatic moves up front. They can sit back, sign a player and perhaps even draft one at the tackle spot. That could be the obvious way for the team to account for trading Brown.

Ravens Now Have Pick Haul to Work With

The one thing that is certain? After the trade, the Ravens have plenty to work with. Baltimore dealt Brown Jr. as well as the 58th pick and a sixth-round selection in 2022 to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for the 31st, 94th and 136th pick in the 2021 draft and a 2022 fifth-round selection.

If that seems like a quality development for the Ravens, it is. Brown Jr. wasn’t in the plans for the 2021 season, and the Ravens scored in a big way by trading him. Now, the team has nine total picks at their disposal for the 2021 draft coming up during the week and weekend.

The Ravens have plenty of big needs to fix, not the least of which is at edge rusher and wideout in the draft. The good news is those spots could be deep for the team, and they have a couple of first-round picks to play with now in terms of a move up or down for a player, or someone falling in their lap.

This blockbuster deal should set the Ravens up very well for the future, even with losing Brown to a key AFC rival. That seems to be what Harbaugh and others are thinking after the move.

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