The Chiefs seemingly secured one of Patrick Mahomes’ top blockers when they used their 2022 franchise tag on Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. But now, with training camp around the corner, it’s possible they haven’t secured Brown at all. The star lineman is “nowhere close on a (long-term) deal” with the Chiefs, one of Brown’s mentors told NFL Media Tuesday, and the big man could skip all of camp, if not the start of the 2022 season, absent an extension.
“(Brown) and his representation have spoken to the Chiefs in recent days regarding a potential contract extension, which must be done before Friday, otherwise he can only play under the one-year franchise tag tender,” Mike Garafolo reported. Former Pro Bowl Saints lineman Jammal Brown is currently serving as one of Brown Jr.’s off-field advisers, Garafolo added, and described a standstill in negotiations: “(He said) the two sides are nowhere close … and they are not just gonna do a deal just to do a deal.”
Brown Jr. is specifically aiming to be compensated in line with the NFL’s highest-paid left tackles, per Garafolo, whereas the Chiefs’ offers to Brown Jr. this offseason have been closer to the top right-tackle contracts. For reference, the 49ers’ Trent Williams has the largest current LT deal, at an average of $23 million per year; while the Saints’ Ryan Ramczyk boasts the top RT number, at $19.2M per year. Two other left tackles, the Packers’ David Bakhtiari and Texans’ Laremy Tunsil, average more than $20M per season.
Brown Jr. would earn a guaranteed $16.6M in 2022 under the franchise tag, which he’s yet to sign. It’s unclear if he plans to sign the tag in the event he doesn’t strike a long-term deal by the July 15 deadline. Until he does, however, he cannot be fined for his potential absence during camp, which fully opens July 26.
The 26-year-old tackle was acquired from the Ravens last April in exchange for a package of draft picks, including the Chiefs’ 2021 first-rounder. He’s made three straight Pro Bowls since 2019, when he started at right tackle before taking over for the injured Ronnie Stanley in Baltimore. His 2021 Pro Bowl campaign was his first in Kansas City as Mahomes’ blind-side protector.