Orlando Brown And The Impossible Ideal

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With their decision not to give him the franchise tag, the Chiefs let Orlando Brown become a free agent, and created for themselves a massive hole at arguably the most important position outside of quarterback. With few, if any, better prospects than Brown available in free agency, it seems likely the Chiefs intend to find that answer in the draft.

This is the opposite of what teams should do. Teams should be able to go into the draft feeling comfortable with their team as-is. There is so much uncertainty around the draft, both in terms of knowing which players will be available to a late-picking team like the Chiefs and knowing how these players will perform at the professional level, that going into the draft planing on relying on them to start at important positions is incredibly risky.

On top of that you could potentially miss out on talented players this way. What happens if the draft comes and there is a run on tackles early, but a really good receiver drops? Because the Chiefs created a need at tackle by not addressing it in free agency, they have to pass on the superior prospect to ensure that they can fill the need.

However, this is a very theoretical way of viewing team building. This is certainly the ideal way of going about business for the reasons I describe in the linked article, but sometimes real life situations dictate that you have to go against the ideal.

In this case Veach is balancing the downsides of drafting for need with the downsides of giving a players a big contract that he doesn’t feel they are worth. If Veach were to take a zealous best player available at all cost approach to the draft, he would have little choice but to give Brown the extension he wants. And in this case it would mean committing to a player who has been inconsistent and having no easy way out for several years.

You could argue this is a situation Veach himself created by trading for Brown in the first place. But again this is too simplistic. With a position as valuable as tackle, and with a team that is always picking at the end of the draft and has limited cap space due to Mahomes’ contract, finding a long term answer at the position isn’t so easy. Trading less than a 1st round pick for a guy who can play the position at least competently for a couple years on a cheap contract is a pretty good deal.

Regardless he finds himself in a tricky situation here. He rightly avoided making the mistake of giving a player a contract they weren’t worth, but is now facing a difficult path forward. We will see what, if anything, he does to address the position in free agency. While getting it resolved before the draft may be an unrealistic ideal, there are ways to get close.

For example, bringing in a player like Taylor Lewan (who has expressed interest in coming to Kansas City). Lewan has played at a high level, but has not been able to remain on the field the past several years. If he came cheap, then suddenly having the absolute best tackle possible in the draft isn’t so critical. A guy who needs to develop could work if he would only need to play spot duty if Lewan got injured.

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03/10/2023 4:10 pm

Tyreek just restructured. Kicking his cap hit down the road. His cap hit this year goes down 18 mill but the next 2 years it’s now 31 and 34 mill dollars. When he’s cut after that season (56 million dollar cap hit his final contract year!!!!) his dead cap will be over 12 mill.

03/10/2023 1:33 pm

the current lowdown on the Chiefs vis-a-vis FA’s UFA’s RFA’s


I’d love to see Juju, Wylie, Burton, Hardman, Watson, Thornhill and Jet return IF POSSIBLE (depends on the market and prices these guys want)

Reply to  upamtn
03/10/2023 2:14 pm

I think losing Thornhill is also a bigger deal than what we realize. He’s been a day 1 starter in this defense since his rookie year. He knows the defense. He may not be the most athletic, but he’s the knowledgeable vet in that secondary. Maybe Reid or Sneed take that role over but I’m not thrilled with losing him either

03/10/2023 12:12 pm

Feels like there’s too much dependence on Mahomes being great brewing with this team. Great QBs can make lesser WRs look better. Not sure how much he can do to also make lesser OTs look better than they really are. Brown isn’t elite, but he’s not average-below average either. He’s not replacement level and I’m worried about the OL performance overall in trying to replace him

Last edited 18 days ago by BKSchief
Reply to  BKSchief
03/10/2023 12:20 pm


Reply to  BKSchief
03/10/2023 12:43 pm

Mahomes already made a lesser OT look like a Pro Bowler. Nobody that’s ever played escapes pressure better that Mahomes. Brown should send Mahomes Royalties when he finally signs somewhere. Mahomes made Cam Erving look serviceable, though I hope Veach is aiming higher than serviceable.

Reply to  chiefshabs
03/10/2023 1:40 pm

The lack of running the ball from KC
since Mahomes took over is the biggest detriment to the OTs than anything. I think Brown will have done better dealing with it than any other OT available to us over the next several seasons. Maybe Veach has his eyes on a couple of prospects in the draft that he feels could outperform, but that’s a very risky play. I’m almost certain there’s no free agents available that will be close to an improvement over Brown in pass blocking in this offense

03/10/2023 11:54 am

It’s interesting to me that we’ve got 2 players (OBJ and Lamar Jackson) who feel they are deserving of a top tier contract for their positions. Basically, their teams have told them, “We think you are overvaluing yourselves. We’re going to let the market determine your worth.” There has been talk of collusion with Jackson, but with his injury problems as a running QB, I wouldn’t be giving him the guaranteed contract he wants. Anyway, I guess we’ll see how it all shakes out. I think the Chiefs are right not to overpay OBJ, which the franchise tag would have done. Hopefully, we can find someone who will do at least as well as he did last year.

Reply to  paulkcc
03/10/2023 2:11 pm

Given Jackson’s issues with staying healthy at the most important time of the year AND his refusal to even give it a go in the playoffs, not to mention his fairly average throwing abilities, I would not, if I was a QB hungry team, tie myself to that wagon for the long term. I would draft young, build around, and hope for the best.
The fact that several teams appear to agree with me does not mean that we are in collusion.
Brown is a bit different. There is far less actual and immediate downside to signing him. If he plays well, money spent well. If he plays poorly, scheme away from him, and you can still probably win. Dead money, but the season isn’t lost. That’s not the case with Jackson.

03/10/2023 10:59 am

QB is typically the highest paid position – but is essential and not easy to replace, so you have to keep them. While a good LT isn’t easy to find, it’s more easily doable than a qb. since they are now getting over 20 million a year, finding one on a rookie contract gives you a heckuva jump on other teams. I’d probably figure on drafting a couple of them and hoping that one of them works out. once they get to the end of their rookie deal, start the process again.

03/10/2023 10:47 am

excellent “explainer” Tony … always more than one way to skin a cat (or a mink) … BV is the King of NFL Moneyball (first with the Mahomes “rolling contract” and then the Hill trade for Draft Picks (aka “value”)

exactly what happens and how it all shakes out is pretty much anyone’s guess, but I’m pretty sure that one way or another Veach is gonna make it all work out for the best for the Chiefs, be it FA’s, Draft Picks and/or Trades

We Shall See …

Big Chief
Big Chief
03/10/2023 10:44 am

Based on how Veach has addressed team needs in the past, I expect we’ll have more tackles than we know what to do with by the time the season rolls around. I full expect he’ll grab some vet, like Lewan or even Eric Fisher, a younger developmental veteran that he liked from a previous draft (via trade or FA), and one or two in the draft and UDFAs. I DO NOT expect to have the draft get here and we have no other option but to HAVE to draft our future tackles and hope they work out.

Reply to  Big Chief
03/10/2023 1:54 pm

That’s a good point. I’m not a fan of walking away from brown and the OL continuity, but I’m sure Veach will provide plenty of options

Last edited 18 days ago by BKSchief
03/10/2023 10:41 am

For example, bringing in a player like Taylor Lewan (who has expressed interest in coming to Kansas City). Lewan has played at a high level, but has not been able to remain on the field the past several years.

Hard PASS…
Lewan has played at a high level…………back in 2018. Rated the WORST (LT)
Eric Fisher better than Taylor Lewan. Eric just turned 32 in January. Taylor turns 32 in June.

Reply to  gonzangkc11
03/10/2023 10:45 am

deep position in NFL draft is Defensive Ends
2nd deepest are Tackles

Maybe Chiefs Prince (backup) for Orlando is ready. Maybe Chiefs Lucas (backup) for Wylie is ready. Story To Be Continued………

Last edited 18 days ago by gonzangkc11
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