In the end, the Cincinnati Bengals made Orlando Brown Jr. an offer he couldn’t refuse. The four-time Pro Bowl left tackle made headlines Wednesday night when he agreed on a record four-year, $64.09 deal with the Bengals reportedly including more than $31 million in signing bonuses.
The Steelers and Jets were also among the teams that showed interest in his client, Brown’s agent said, by ESPN. But the Bengals’ long-term guaranteed money eventually convinced Brown to sign with them.
“I’m super grateful to have the opportunity to carry on my dad’s legacy and be a left tackle,” Brown said Wednesday night. via NFL media. “It was important to be able to play in that position and play for a winning team and a winning quarterback. Who Dey!”
Instead of joining the Steelers, Brown will face them twice a year like he did when he was a member of the Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers’ interest in Brown provides some insight into Pittsburgh’s plans for offensive tackle. While it’s no secret that Pittsburgh needs depth in this position, it looks like the Steelers may be looking to provide a replacement or, at least, competition for starting left tackle Dan Moore Jr.
With Brown out of the picture, the Steelers can choose to pursue another tackle in free agency or fill the need with a high draft pick. Pittsburgh, which has three of the top 50 draft picks, will surely use one on a left tackle.
The Jets surely would have liked Brown to protect Aaron Rodgers’ blindside next season. While former first-round pick Mekhi Becton is expected to be the team’s starting left tackle, injuries have limited him to just one game the past two seasons. Becton’s backup Duane Brown is a five-time Pro Bowler who will turn 38 before the start of the regular season.
Brown completes the Bengals’ massive overhaul of their offensive line that began shortly after Cincinnati’s 23-20 loss to the Rams in Super Bowl LVI. Since that game, the Bengals have signed Brown, right tackle La’el Collins, right guard Alex Cappa and center Ted Karras. Cordell Volson, a fourth-round pick in last year’s draft, broke into the starting lineup at left guard last season.
Although their starting offensive line is quite impressive, the Bengals have strong reinforcements behind them in former first-round pick Jonah Williams and former second-round pick Jackson Carman. Williams, who had been the team’s starting left tackle prior to Brown’s signing, could potentially compete with Collins for the team’s starting right tackle.
Although they’ve lost several players to free agency, Brown’s signing reinforces the narrative that the Bengals are trying to maximize what they can do during Joe Burrow’s early years. Speaking of Burrow, the Cincinnati Pro Bowl quarterback is also expected to receive a long-term contract this offseason that will keep him in Queen City for the long haul.