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Time For The Chiefs To Trade This Franchise Cornerstone?

Will the Chiefs be forced to trade this potential franchise cornerstone? There's only two outcomes and we're analyzing the potential solutions.

The Chiefs and Orlando Brown Jr. are currently trying to work out a long-term contract that works for both sides. As a result, Brown has been absent from the team’s mandatory mini-camp. The Chiefs traded a first-round pick for Brown just a year ago and franchise-tagged him this year with the intention of signing him to a long-term extension. However, in the same offseason that the team traded away a superstar wide receiver due to contract disputes, would they consider trading away Brown for the same reason?

The likeliest outcome is that Brown will remain a member of the Chiefs, not just this season, but for many more seasons to come. Brown did have his struggles early last season adjusting to a pass-heavy scheme but became a crucial piece of the offensive line in the back half of the year. Brown will likely expect to become the highest-paid left tackle in football, and he does hold all the cards as the Chiefs have few options for replacing him.

All that being said, there is still a minuscule chance that Orlando Brown could be playing for another team next season. So, if the Chiefs were to trade Brown, what would be some potential trades that could make sense?

Chiefs Trade Brown Jr. To The Jets In An Exchange Of Tackles

The first trade scenario would involve a swap of tackles with the New York Jets. The trade would revolve around Mekhi Becton and Orlando Brown Jr. as the centerpieces. One side may have to fork over some extra assets, but overall both teams may be able to gain some value here.

The Chiefs benefit because they get a player who is still on their rookie contract, and may have a higher upside than Brown. Becton is a similar size to Brown but is significantly more athletic than Brown. The real issue is injury concerns. Becton played in 14 games as a rookie, but only one last season. His chances of being a bust are about as high as his chances of becoming an all-pro player.

The Jets benefit because on the flip side they gain a player who has been reliable health-wise. Of course, they’d have to pay him, but as they have a QB only on just the second year of his rookie contract they have cap space to spend. Zach Wilson would greatly appreciate having a reliable blind-side protector.

The Chiefs may be hesitant to do this trade as they want a left tackle they can trust to be ready on game day. Becton has a high ceiling, but that means nothing if he can’t stay healthy. The Jets would probably be open to this trade scenario, but maybe they are still high on Becton.

Chiefs Trade Brown Jr. To An Old Rival And Acquire A Better Fit

A theme with these trade scenarios is that the Chiefs need to get back an offensive lineman in return for giving one up. While the Chiefs do have one of the best offensive lines in football, they lack tackle depth. So, outside of Becton are there any potential franchise left tackles who may be available? The Patriots may hold the answer.

Isaiah Wynn is entering the fourth year of his rookie contract, and similar to Brown will be expecting a payday soon. He is a much different style of tackle than the large power-type blocker that Brown is, but that doesn’t make him any less of a player. Wynn may even be a better fit in the Chiefs’ offense. Injuries have also been an issue with Wynn, but when healthy he has been a great player.

The main reason this trade doesn’t work is that the Patriots probably won’t pay a left tackle top dollar. The Patriots very rarely overspend for any players, regardless of position. They are more likely to trade for draft capital next offseason and try to draft a replacement. It’s unlikely the Chiefs like this scenario too much either, as once again they are betting on the health of a player.

Chiefs Trade Offensive Line For Defensive Line

The last potential trade is one where the Chiefs would leave themselves vulnerable at the left tackle position to strengthen their defensive line. This is the least likely scenario to happen. If the Chiefs don’t get an offensive line replacement for Brown, then they will have question marks at both tackle spots. After the 2020 Super Bowl, Brett Veach does not want to see that happen, but in this scenario let’s say he has a plan lined up for Brown’s replacement.

In this scenario, the Chiefs trade Orlando Brown Jr. to the Chicago Bears for Robert Quinn and either a 2nd or 3rd round pick. Both teams address a weakness while creating a weakness. This trade may make the most sense of any trade, while also making the least sense.

The Bears ensure that their potential franchise quarterback is protected, and the Chiefs get to add to their pass-rush which was one of the worst in the NFL in 2021. However, the Bears just traded away Khalil Mack. Also, as mentioned the Chiefs don’t currently have a plan for right tackle, which means they also have to figure out the left side. Entering the season with major question marks at both Tackle positions is not a great plan.

Chiefs Must Pay Brown Jr. And Maintain O-Line Stability

Going through trade scenarios is fun, but in the end, the Chiefs are almost forced to pay Orlando Brown Jr. top dollar. He knows the system and showed great strides of improvement last season. Paying him will clear up cap space, and secure a franchise left tackle for Mahomes’ prime years. Even if they have to overpay Brown, there are worse places to overpay on a roster. Protecting Mahomes from injury is a return on investment enough.

The NFL’s salary cap will continue to grow as sports betting continues to spread across the country. The Chiefs have proven in recent years they can be trusted with their roster building. While contract negotiations can be frustrating for both fans and the front office, the players should always try and make as much as possible while they still can.

Should the Chiefs trade Orlando Brown Jr. while they still have some leverage? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion.

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