The Cincinnati Bengals are making a huge free agency splash, signing the best player left on the market. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the team is close to signing OT Orlando Brown Jr. to a four-year, $64.092 million deal with a record-setting $31 million signing bonus.
More contract details from Ian Rapoport. While the signing bonus is large, the deal is pretty friendly to the Bengals.
Brown was surprisingly not tagged by the Kansas City Chiefs fresh off their Super Bowl win and allowed to hit the open market. Instead, the Chiefs inked OT Jawaan Taylor to a big-time deal.
Despite being just 26 and a standout tackle, this will already be Brown’s third team. Drafted in the third round of the 2018 draft by the Baltimore Ravens, he spent three seasons there before requesting a trade in a desire to play left tackle. The Ravens sent him to Kansas City, where he spent the past two years. He’s made four career Pro Bowls and had a strong performance in the Chiefs’ Super Bowl win against a potent Eagles’ pass rush.
The Bengals have made heavy investments in their offensive line over the last two years. Last year, they signed four new starters and while the line still had its struggles, especially in their Week One loss to Pittsburgh, they got healthier as the year went on. Now, they make a big swing in Brown, which could kick LT Jonah Williams to LG or potentially right tackle, though the Bengals have ruled that out in the past. Of course, that was before the team signed a player of Brown’s caliber so we’ll have to see what they do. Either way, Brown will be facing Alex Highsmith or T.J. Watt twice next season in what should be some fun matchups.
UPDATE: 10:28 PM – NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo says the plan is for Brown to play left tackle for the team.