Key Chiefs Piece off to Rough Start Ahead of Crucial Campaign

Orlando Brown Jr.

Getty Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. outside of Arrowhead Stadium in 2022.

The most frustrating Kansas City Chiefs contract situation of the 2022 offseason may have been left tackle Orlando Brown Jr.’s extension negotiations — for all parties involved.

The talks were long and slow-moving, with plenty of delays throughout. First, Brown took his time deciding on a new agent. The hiring process took months and by the time Delta Sports Group’s Michael Portner took on the responsibility, it was almost time for mandatory minicamp.

After that, the conversation finally began and it did not go very well. The Chiefs’ front office and Brown’s camp came close to a deal at the deadline but the 26-year-old blocker ended up declining due to a lack of “guarantees” during the later years of the contract.

NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo explained at the time that “the sixth year [of the offer] had a $40m+ salary strictly to inflate the average annual value to the top of the market,” adding that year six was “never been meant to be paid” by the Chiefs. Based on that lack of security, Brown bet on himself and so far, that bet is not off to a hot start.

Chiefs’ Orlando Brown Begins Contract Year With Poor Rank

Sure, Kansas City is 2-0 and Patrick Mahomes II has performed well, but Brown’s personal blocking analytics have actually been pretty poor to begin an important 2022 campaign. KC Star reporter Jesse Newell shared the left tackle’s early positional rankings on Twitter.

Newell informed: “Small-sample size alert (and consider the competition too), but worth tracking for obvious reasons: Orlando Brown ranks 56th/65 tackles at [Pro Football Focus] in overall grade (among players with>28 snaps). He’s 63rd/65 in pass-block grade and has allowed 7 [QB] pressures and 5 hurries in 2 games.”

Yikes! The most glaring number is that 63rd ranking in pass protection. Another way Newell could have described that stat is third-worst in the NFL among starting OTs.

As the beat reporter stated, this came against a pretty ferocious pass rusher group that included Khalil Mack, Joey Bosa, Markus Golden and Zach Allen coming off the edge. At the same time, Brown has earned a putrid 39.2 score out of 100 on the popular grading site as a pass-blocker.

His PFF run-blocking mark (69.3) has a stronger ranking at No. 25 on that same list of 65 offensive tackles.

By comparison, a converted guard like KC’s right tackle Andrew Wylie has bested him in both areas so far. The veteran fill-in has been given a 71.2 in the run game and a 66.1 in pass pro. Wylie has only been charged with two quarterback pressures over the first two weeks (both hurries).

He did have one holding penalty against the Los Angeles Chargers that led to a controversial hit on Mahomes, but Brown has already registered his first flag too.

Orlando Brown’s Play Sets up Hot 2022 Debate to Monitor

Chiefs Kingdom has been somewhat torn on Brown over the past year. Some believe he’s still the left tackle of the future while other fans are just about ready to move on.

The 6-foot-8 Pro Bowler has his pros and cons but one of his best traits is often overlooked — his durability. Entering Week 3 of season five, Brown has only missed one NFL start and that absence came with the Chiefs in 2021.

Generally speaking, he’s been a reliable blocker too, although the run game is definitely his strong suit. You could make the argument that Brown should have never switched to the left side based on his mauler skill set that was tailor-made for right tackle, but you can’t necessarily blame him for chasing the money — most people do.

With the contract situation being what it is, expect Brown’s game to constantly be scrutinized by fans and analysts throughout the year. The franchise tag was probably the correct move this spring but all bets are off in 2023.

Kansas City originally spent three draft picks — including a first-rounder — in 2021 to trade for Brown. They might prefer to try and flip him again before they ever let him walk in free agency.

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