- ESPN Staff Writer
- Previously a college football writer for The Dallas Morning News
- University of North Texas graduate
The Cincinnati Bengals showed they are serious about protecting quarterback Joe Burrow, signing four-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. to a four-year, $64 million deal that includes a signing bonus of over $31 million, his agent, Michael Portner, confirmed to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
The Bengals paid a premium to land Brown, the former Kansas City Chiefs star who was one of the best available offensive tackles in free agency. Brown’s signing bonus is $10 million higher than what offensive linemen Ted Karras, Alex Cappa and La’el Collins received combined when they signed with the Bengals last offseason.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets were among other teams that showed interest in Brown.
He immediately boosts an offensive line that was improved at times in pass blocking but still ranked near the bottom of the league. The Bengals were 30th in pass block win rate, an ESPN metric powered by NFL Next Gen.
Brown will also become the most accomplished player on the roster, with consecutive Pro Bowl selections from 2019-22. Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase was previously the only player on Cincinnati’s roster with multiple Pro Bowl selections (two).
If Brown continues to play left tackle, that means former first-round pick Jonah Williams will likely need to find a new position. Williams, who had his fifth-year option picked up last season, has been the team’s primary starter on the left side of the offensive line since he was drafted in 2019.
Brown and the Chiefs couldn’t agree on a long-term contract last season, so he played the season as their franchise player, earning about $16.6 million.
Brown, who turns 27 in May, was acquired by the Chiefs in a 2021 trade with the Baltimore Ravens. He was the starting left tackle for every game except one in his two seasons with the Chiefs. He was a Pro Bowl selection in both seasons, using his massive 6-foot-8, 340-pound frame to post a pass block win rate of 91.8% when blocking for Patrick Mahomes, which ranked 18th among all offensive tackles.
He played three seasons for the Ravens, where he was mostly a right tackle. He asked to be traded from Baltimore so he could play left tackle in part because he wanted to fulfill a promise made to his late father, Orlando, a former NFL offensive tackle.
Brown has appeared in 81 games (75 starts) in his five NFL seasons and has been selected to the Pro Bowl each of the past four seasons.
ESPN’s Adam Teicher contributed to this report.
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