Last week, July 15 deadline for the Kansas City chiefs to sign left tackle, Orlando Brown Jr. came and went. without the club tying him to a long-term contract. there was an argument that both sides did their job properly —that the Chiefs had reason to offer Brown what they were doing, and he had reason to refuse to take it.
With negotiations restricted until the 2023 off-season, the conversation has naturally shifted to when Brown would show up to sign the year-long franchise tag and work at St. Joseph’s training camp. reports have suggested that Brown could suspend at least some of the practiceswhich begin Wednesday for Chiefs veterans.
Speaking to the media in St. Joseph on Friday, head coach Andy Reid had no answer as to when Brown might arrive.
“I don’t know, so I don’t know if he’s going to be here or not,” Reid said simply. “If he’s here, great – and if not, we’ll move on. That’s how we’ve done it in the past. This isn’t the first time I’ve been through something like this, so it’s my thing, we’ll just go. And whoever. The next guy will rise there.
“We know Joe Thuney can make it in the blink of an eye. So if we have to go in this direction, we could go in this direction. We have a few new faces who can do that too.”
Tuney started in 17 games for the Chiefs last season, including 16 games at his natural left guard position and one at left: the Chiefs’ Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengal after Brown was injured at work before the game. In the game, Thuney only allowed one quarterback pressure during 40 snaps in pass protection.
If Brown sits out, training camp workouts won’t be the first he misses. The Chiefs’ upset left tackle skipped the Chiefs’ voluntary workouts and all mandatory mini-camps (reminder, Brown isn’t subject to fines since he’s not under contract until he signs the tag).
“If you miss, you miss. It’s hard to fathom,” Reid added. “It’s just logical. But to say he doesn’t have a basis – he has a basis for the plays we do and the things we do, but he missed all the OTAs and all that – so the new stuff that we put in , that’s where he needs to catch up.”
Someone who can help him with that when he arrives is quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who has remained steadfast in Brown’s corner since negotiations were ongoing throughout the off-season.
“I talk to Orlando all the time,” Mahomes affirmed. “Me and he have a great relationship. Of course we wanted to close the deal. I’m sure he wanted to close the deal and stuff – but at the end of the day we’re going to go out there and play football and I’m happy that he’s here and a part of the team again.”
Mahomes said he never pressures his teammates when it comes to money and described Brown as a “team player”. The two would talk football despite his absence from all of the Chiefs’ offseason workouts.
“Even when he hasn’t been to OTAs, he asks me questions, he watches the film, he does everything he can to make sure he’s ready when he gets here,” Mahomes said. “I think that comes from his dad playing in the league. He has been involved in this sport his whole life. They ask everyone on this team, he’s one of the best guys on this team – if not the best.”
Though things seemed to be turning sour between the two sides in recent days, Reid is optimistic that when the time comes, Brown will be able to separate what happened this offseason from what needs to happen once he enters the field.
“There’s an element of time and I think players can sort that out over time,” Reid said, “the business side of that and the football side of that — they can separate that. For the most part, those I’ve been with have done a great job with it. And then they show up and do their football part.
“They’re still getting paid, and Orlando gets paid pretty well, so they can separate that and move on. That’s how it works.”
Once brown does signs his franchise tag, he’ll make $16.7 million in 2022 — more than three times what he’s made in his entire career. However, he has to appear for this.
The head coach wants to see that sooner rather than later – and so does the quarterback.