Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. is reportedly looking to leave—but on one condition.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Brown wants a trade to a team that would line him up at left tackle, though Baltimore would require a "major haul" in return. He played right tackle through his first two years but had to move to the left side of the line after an ankle injury knocked Ronnie Stanley out for the year in November.
Stanley signed a five-year, $98.8 million extension in October. He figures to be the starting left tackle in 2021 and beyond, which would mean Brown returns to right tackle.
Last Friday, the 24-year-old pointed to comments he made in November to the Baltimore Sun's Daniel Oyefusi. He said his late father, Orlando Brown Sr., wanted him to play on the left because he considered it a more important and prestigious position:
Orlando Brown Jr. @ZEUS__78
It’s never been about the money. I’m so appreciative for this organization and all my teammates. I couldn’t thank DeCosta enough, he’s a incredible football mind and one the best men I know. I want to live out the dream my dad had for me. https://t.co/JhHj4PL2mG https://t.co/bbki7zO9Vb
Brown is coming off a second Pro Bowl season, which would justify the argument that he deserves to play left tackle. While the 6'8", 345-pound Oklahoma product said money isn't part of the equation, he'd stand to earn a lot more there than at right tackle. Per Spotrac, the 10 highest-paid left tackles are slated to earn an average salary of $16.6 million in 2020. That number is $11.2 million for right tackles.
But Brown doesn't have much leverage and remains a bargain (a $1.1 million salary-cap hit in 2021) in the final year of his rookie contract.
Baltimore will have to pony up next season to keep Brown around, and he may not be enthused about signing a long-term extension if he has to stay at right tackle. The franchise tag would allow the Ravens to at least retain him for 2022.
As well, trading away a proven offensive lineman isn't a great move for a team that needs to address the offensive line.
Having said that, Brown's trade value is likely high enough that the Ravens could land a high draft pick or two, which would help them find the linemen necessary to strengthen up front. Free agency isn't flush with top-end tackle talent beyond Trent Williams, putting general manager Eric DeCosta in a strong position to negotiate.