The Ravens made a bold but good move in trading right offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. to the Kansas City on Friday.
It was inevitable that Brown was going to leave either by trade this season or through free agency at the end of it. So the Ravens might as well have gotten something for Brown, who has become coveted as a left tackle in the NFL.
In exchange for Brown, the Ravens got the Chiefs’ first-, third- and fourth-round picks this year and a fifth-rounder in 2022. The Ravens, meanwhile, gave up a second-round pick in 2021 and sixth-rounder in 2022. Some will wonder why the Ravens made a trade with Kansas City, which won the Super Bowl title in 2020 and finished runner-up to Tampa Bay last season.
The answer is simple.
The Ravens wanted to get something for Brown before his eventual departure. Brown, a three-year veteran, had asked for a trade shortly after the season because he played well in 11 games on the left side in place of injured starter Ronnie Stanley. With Brown’s contract up at the end of next season and the Ravens having signed Stanley to a five-year, $98.75 million contract in October, the Ravens couldn’t afford to keep both players.
The preference would have been for Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta to trade Brown to a team in the NFC, but DeCosta is no dummy. This was probably the best deal he could get. Are the Chiefs better because they now have Brown, who can replace their departed left tackle, Eric Fisher?
Yes, but DeCosta’s main priority is building the Ravens for next season and the future, not worrying about Kansas City. If the Ravens take care of their own business, maybe they can become better than the Chiefs. Right now, the Ravens have two picks in the first round at No. 27 and No. 31.
Brown was a popular player in Baltimore. He’s started 42 games since the 2018 draft, when then-Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome gambled on him and selected Brown in the third round. As a Pro Bowl player the past two seasons, he owes some gratitude to the Ravens for taking a risk, but pro football is a business. Soon to be 25, it’s time for Brown to sign the most lucrative contract of his career, and he will eventually work out a long-term deal with Kansas City. He’ll succeed with the Chiefs and mobile quarterback Patrick Mahomes because Mahomes’ scrambling ability will slow edge rushers, an area in which Brown has struggled.
As for the Ravens, there is speculation they might sign former Pittsburgh Steeler and free agent Alejando Villanueva to replace Brown. At 32, he isn’t as good as Brown, but he is a comfortable fit. Or the Ravens could select a right tackle with one of their two first-round picks in the draft.
They have options, which is why they traded Brown. They had to get something before they were left with nothing and now they have two firsts, two thirds, two fourths, two fifths and one sixth-round pick in the upcoming draft.