The biggest domino to fall in the Kansas City Chiefs’ plans for the 2023 NFL offseason is surrounding Orlando Brown Jr.’s contract status.
Brown Jr. played on the franchise tag during the 2022 NFL season after the two sides were unable to agree on a long-term contract extension. Reporting indicated that the Chiefs offered a six-year extension worth up to $139 million, but the two sides were far apart on guaranteed money.
Speaking to media members at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Chiefs GM Brett Veach suggested that using the franchise tag is an option once again, but it’s not the preferable option to reaching a long-term deal.
“I mean it’s an option,” Veach said. “We went through this path last year. As always, it’s more beneficial to us to get something done long-term. That’s why this season is so important to us. Really, this is the start. We’ll have a lot of dialogue, as you know. The combine is great to come in and check out the new college talent, but a lot of the time here is spent talking with the agents of our players to start exchanging information. Unlike last year, we at least have a runway to work with. We’ve gotten to know his team a little bit better, so we’re excited to get that process started here and get something figured out.”
Brown Jr. didn’t sign with an agent until June last offseason, which left the Chiefs with a little over a month to negotiate before the deadline to sign franchise-tagged players long-term. Veach seems much more optimistic about a long-term deal getting done this time around with both timing and familiarity playing a factor in negotiations.
“It’s a big deal because I don’t think we started that until really late in the process,” Veach said. “Time became a factor there. That’s certainly going to help facilitate things. We’ll just go to work right away and see what we can get done.”
The Chiefs have until Tuesday, March 7 at 4:00 p.m. ET to declare Brown Jr. as the team’s franchise-tagged player for 2023. The team could again use the tag as a tool to buy more time on long-term contract negotiations, but that would limit some flexibility the team would have to retain and sign players in free agency. As Veach indicated, getting a long-term deal done would be preferable, but especially so over the course of the next two weeks prior to the new league year and free agency.