Amidst the hype following Super Bowl 55 where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be playing the reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs, Orlando Brown Jr. has been keeping the Ravens somewhat relevant with his Twitter account for the past two weeks.
He has been the Ravens starting right tackle for the vast majority of his first three seasons in the league but started a dozen games including both playoff games on the left side due to a shoulder injury then a season-ending knee injury to Ronnie Stanley.
The two-time Pro Bowl offensive linemen took to Twitter once again to express his burning desire to play left tackle going forward, prompting some to believe that a trade is imminent.
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 pic.twitter.com/bbki7zO9Vb— Orlando Brown Jr. (@ZEUS__78) February 5, 2021
This situation isn’t quite as dramatic, controversial, or receiving anywhere near as much coverage as the standoff between the Texans and disgruntled Pro Bowl quarterback, Deshaun Watson.
However, like in that case, the Ravens would need substantial compensation in order to be willing to part ways with what they view as one of the young cornerstone pillars of their franchise.
Perennial Pro Bowl offensive linemen don’t just grow on trees and franchise left tackles are as rare as unicorns unless a team has a top-five pick and even those aren’t always guaranteed to pan out.
Some of the teams that will be on the lookout to replace or upgrade their blindside protector include the Washington Football Team, Chargers, Seahawks, Jaguars, Colts, Cowboys, Panthers, Bears, Steelers, and Bengals.
The Seahawks, Cowboys, Chargers, Panthers, Steelers, and Bears all have underperforming veterans at the position. The Jaguars, Bengals, and WTF have underwhelming draft picks who aren’t developing fast enough, and the Colts’ vacancy is due to retirement.
In the spirit of fun and pure speculation, here is a list of the realistic potential trade partners for Brown Jr. in alphabetical order and what they would have to offer in order to get him out of Baltimore, which we all would assume includes a first-round draft pick as a non-starter condition of any potential deal:
Finding a new starting or potential franchise quarterback might be their top priority. However, fortifying their offensive line that showed signs of improvement during the final few regular-season games but is still severely deficient should be a close second.
Head Coach Matt Nagy’s offense ranked 25th in rushing in 2020 and averaged just 4.2 yards per carry, as well. Adding a player like Brown Jr. that helped pave the way for the Ravens’ historic rushing attack would go a long way towards improving their ground game, as well as keeping whoever they have under center upright whether it is Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles, or TBD.
As far as what it would take, Chicago holds the 20th overall pick in the first round of this year’s draft and if they wanted to sweeten the deal, they could throw in another pick no higher than a third and no lower than a fifth.
If they wanted to get really creative and roll the dice that no team would pounce between now and late April and that the Ravens wouldn’t address their need at wide receiver, they could franchise tag impending free agent Allen Robinson and attempt an opening draft-night trade for Brown that would send Robinson to Charm City and Brown Jr. to the Windy City along with their first-round pick.
The Seahawks and Chiefs pulled off similar moves two years ago when they traded their franchise-tagged pass rushers for draft compensation. Robinson has been linked to the Ravens since the midseason trade deadline and could be their top free agency target if he hits the open market.
Unlike the Bears and some of the other teams on this list, Los Angles has their franchise quarterback in Offensive Rookie of the Year front runner Justin Herbert. Now they need to upgrade the protection unit of their most valuable asset.
Brown Jr. would be an instant upgrade over incumbent Sam Tevi who started 14 games at left tackle for the Bolts. Herbert wouldn’t be throwing with constant pressure in his face nearly as often and their 18th ranked run game in 2020 would get a boost as well.
As far as what it would take, the Chargers hold the 13th overall pick in this year’s draft and could very well use it to address their glaring need at left tackle, but they might be willing to trade back with the Ravens in exchange for Brown Jr. if one of the top receiver prospects or consensus top tight prospect Kyle Pitts of Florida begins to slide down the board.
Another offer they could propose to General Manager Eric DeCosta could be former first-round receiver Mike Williams and either their second (47th overall) or third (77th overall) round pick. The Ravens liked Williams coming out of Clemson in 2017, but he came off the board nine picks before they were even on the clock.
Like Robinson, he is exactly the kind of big-bodied possession receiver that their offense is missing at the ‘X’ spot. He’s a contested-catch and jump-ball specialist who will be playing on his fifth-year option in 2021 with a cap hit of $15.6 million. He’d likely have to agree to an extension in order for the deal to happen.
For the past three seasons, Indianapolis has had the best pass-blocking offensive line in the entire league, but following the retirement of Anthony Castonzo last month, they now have a vacancy at left tackle.
While finding a new starting quarterback is at the top of their offseason to-do list, replacing Castonzo with Brown Jr. could make for a seamless transition on the blindside of whoever will be under center for them in 2021 and beyond.
Any potential trade with the Colts will completely be contingent on how they approach their search for their next signal-caller. If they go the veteran trade route or are targeting one of the top prospects at the position in this year’s draft class then their first-round pick would assuredly be off the table.
However, if they were to sign one as an unrestricted free agent once the new league year opens up on March 17, the 21st overall pick would be back in play, which would make them serious contenders to land Brown in a trade. Indy could also offer both of their day-two picks in this year’s draft or one of them and their first-rounder in either 2022 or 2023.
Once upon a time in the not-too-distant past, Dallas had the best offensive line in terms of both run and pass blocking in the NFL. Alas, age and attrition have taken their toll on the once impenetrable unit; three of the five starting spots could use an upgrade.
Brown Jr. could come right in and replace seven-time Pro Bowler Tyron Smith at left tackle. The oft-injured former first-round pick has spent more time in the training room and on injured reserve than he has on the field performing at the elite level that his salary commands, as of late.
While he’s under contract through the 2024 season, Smith doesn’t have any more guaranteed money left on his contract and has contemplated retirement. Brown Jr. could help the Cowboys get back to playing bully ball on the ground and keep clean the jersey of Dak Prescott or whoever they wind up starting at quarterback.
As for what it would take to make this happen, Dallas holds the 10th overall pick in the first round and likely won’t want to pass up on an opportunity to address one of their top other needs on either side of the ball, even if it is in exchange for a proven franchise blindside protector.
However, they could offer their second-round pick (44th overall) or third-round pick (73rd overall) and wide receiver Michael Gallup. While he is entering the final year of his rookie contract like Williams, his 2021 cap hit is much lower at just $1.1 million, since he was a third-round pick in 2018, so an extension wouldn’t necessarily be needed to facilitate a trade.
Gallup also fits the mold of the type of receiver that the Ravens will be looking to add this offseason. He is not as tall or as heavy as Williams or Robinson who both weigh 220 pounds and measure in at over 6-foot-1, but he is still a great possession receiver and can get behind defenses with vertical speed.
With former second-round pick Cam Robinson slated to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, Jacksonville might be ready to move and upgrade at left tackle, and acquiring Brown Jr. would make a lot of sense.
The Jaguars have the resources in both picks and personnel to facilitate the trade and the cap space to lock Brown up long term. There has been a pipeline of defensive coaches from Baltimore to north Florida and first-year head coach Urban Meyer might want to ensure that presumptive No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence has the best protection possible to begin his career.
Jacksonville not only holds the top pick in this year’s draft but they have four picks in the top 50, and the 33rd overall pick is essentially like a third first-rounder since it is the first of round two. They could offer the Ravens either the 25th overall pick and another mid-round pick or two day-two picks in exchange for Brown Jr. since they are both at the top and near the bottom on the second and third rounds.
If they want to sweeten the deal and only give up one of their top picks, excluding the No. 1 overall of course, including wide receiver DJ Chark could entice the Ravens to pull the trigger on a potential trade.
Chark also fits the big-bodied mold with a wide catch radius and will be entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2021 with an inexpensive cap hit of just $1.4 million.
Veteran Russell Okung started just seven games for Carolina in 2020 after being acquired via trade last offseason but is slated to become an unrestricted free agent. The team might be looking to upgrade and get younger at left tackle with Brown as they continue to rebuild.
The Panthers don’t have a surplus of talent at positions of need for the Ravens that they could exchange in order for Brown. With just six picks in this year’s draft, unless they trade back in one of the first three rounds, that isn’t expected to change.
As far as what it would take to get Brown Jr, they hold the eighth overall pick in the first round, which is likely off-limits. Trading either their second or third-round pick in this year’s draft and their first-rounder in either 2022 or 2023 might be enough to make it happen.
Veteran Duane Brown played well in 2020 and even earned an 87.3 overall grade from Pro Football Focus but is only under contract through 2021 and will turn 36 before the season opener.
Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carrol wants to field a dominant rushing attack and adding [Orlando] Brown to the equation will go a long way toward making that dream a reality. One potential snag in a potential trade here is if [Duane] Brown isn’t willing to flip over to the right side after playing exclusively on the blindside for the first 13 years of his career.
The elder Brown might request a trade of his own if the Brown Jr comes to town to take his preferred position. If Brown Jr. is willing to play right tackle in his first year in Seattle with the promise of being able to permanently move over to the left in 2022, maybe the team could appease both players.
As far as what it would take, the Seahawks don’t have a first or third-round pick in this year’s draft as a result of their trade to acquire All-Pro safety, Jamal Adams. With just one pick in the top 100, they might need to flip a veteran like Brown to recoup some more picks in the early rounds in order to trade for Brown Jr.
A potential deal sweetener could be if Seattle included one of their young free safeties in a trade. Both Marquise Blair and Ugo Amadi were 2019 draft picks and could fill a need for Baltimore in their defensive sub-packages as the third safety.
Seven-year veteran Cornelius Lucas started eight games for Washington at left tackle and did an admirable job but the team never really properly replaced eight-time Pro Bowler Trent Williams after trading him to the 49ers last offseason.
Bringing in Brown Jr. would do just that and he wouldn’t have to travel far or even move states if this trade were to happen since both teams reside in Maryland. Adding the two-time Pro Bowler would give Washington an excellent pair of bookend offensive tackle with Morgan Moses manning the right side.
As far as what it would take, Washington holds the 19th overall pick in the first round but depending on what method they use to address their most pressing need at quarterback, they may or may not have the resources to acquire Brown Jr.
If they elect to sign an unrestricted free agent, then they could still use their top pick in this year’s draft in a trade package to land their franchise left tackle to protect the blindside of the future face of the franchise.
Washington’s package could also include Lucas who could fill a need for the Ravens at swing tackle or right tackle if need be and only has a cap hit of just $2.05 million in 2021.
Since the Ravens are in the same division as the Bengals and Steelers, I highly doubt they would like to face Brown Jr. twice a year for the next decade and don’t want to help a rival improve, so they are omitted from the list.
I’d love for any potential trade involving Brown Jr. to result in the Ravens landing Pitts whether it is a result of acquiring a high enough pick or the team packaging a pair of late first round picks to move up to get him.
However, all jokes and pipe dreams aside, I highly doubt that the Ravens will trade Brown Jr. away. The more likely scenario is that the two parties will come to an understanding that next season will be his final year with the team, he will still be playing on the right side and will be free to sign elsewhere next offseason after what they hope will be a champion run in 2021.