The Chiefs found a way to revamp their offensive line before the NFL Draft even began.
The Kansas City Chiefs clinched the AFC’s only bye with 14 regular-season wins and managed to take home the AFC championship in 2020 — but years from now, what will likely be remembered most about the season is Patrick Mahomes under relentless pressure in Super Bowl LV, a 31-9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The NFL is a cold business in that sense: so much done right over a year’s time can be undone on the game’s greatest stage.
Stemming from that result, general manager Brett Veach and his personnel staff have gone back to the drawing board this offseason, and in the process, they have rebuilt the offensive line in its entirety, culminating with a trade for offensive lineman Orlando Brown Jr. last Friday.
“I’m excited we were able to come to an agreement with the Ravens to acquire Orlando Brown, one of the best offensive tackles in the National Football League,” Veach said, as the Chiefs officially welcomed him to the club Monday. “He’s certainly a special kid. This guy is a Pro Bowl player with tremendous size, quickness and power. Not only is he physically talented, but he’s incredibly bright and will fit in well in our offensive line room. We’re thrilled to get him in a Chiefs uniform.”
Brown joined the media for his first press conference on Monday, noting he had been in touch with Mahomes. Then came the words Chiefs fans had been yearning for since the title loss to the Bucs.
“I look forward to keeping [Mahomes] clean, whether he has a broken leg, healthy leg, healthy ankle — whatever the deal is,” Brown said. “I look forward to keeping him clean. He shouldn’t have to run around because of me, period.”
Brown spent 2018-20 with the Ravens, accumulating 42 starts. Three of those starts came against the Chiefs, against whom Baltimore went 0-3. Thus he was as astonished as the league’s analysts and fans when he learned his destination was Kansas City.
“I was really surprised, man, I was really surprised. I didn’t see it coming,” he said. “If you would have asked me when I requested my trade where I would have been, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you then but I was very surprised to be here, and I’m just glad that they made the move. I definitely think I’m the guy that they want, the guy that they need.”
The plan for now is for Orlando Brown will play out the final year of his deal with the #Chiefs, source says. There’s no extension as part of this deal right now.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) April 23, 2021
As is obvious by now, Brown will play left tackle for the Chiefs, and it will be on the final year of his rookie contract. The Chiefs have an option to use the franchise tag for 2022 before perhaps striking a long-term deal in 2023. Brown, who is 24 now, will be 26 when the 2023 offseason begins.
“I want to be here for a long time, I do and I’m going to make sure I take care of my part and that’s handling my business on the football field,” Brown said. “It’s just an incredible organization top to bottom. It’s a bunch of great people, I haven’t met a bad person so far. As I said offensively, it’s a ton of talent obviously with the number of pro bowlers and All-Pros that they have here with Pat (Patrick Mahomes), Travis Kelce and Joe Thuney now, guys like me and Tyreek (Hill) and I’m really looking forward to getting out there and competing each and every day, competing on game days with these guys and just really going out there and giving it my all.
“I think that I fit in really well here, I look forward to meeting everybody.”