Free agency’s top left tackle is joining the Bengals.
Cincinnati is signing left tackle Orlando Brown to a four-year, $64.09 million contract with a signing bonus over $31 million, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported, per sources.
Brown’s signing bonus is the largest ever for an offensive lineman, Pelissero noted.
“I’m super thankful for the opportunity to carry on my father’s legacy and be a left tackle,” Brown told NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo following his decision to join Cincy. “It was important to be able to play that position and play for a winning team and a winning quarterback. Who Dey!”
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Brown, the No. 2 overall player in Gregg Rosenthal’s top 101 free agents, has protected winning quarterbacks for the entirety of his career, serving as a tackle in front of Lamar Jackson for his first three seasons before joining Kansas City via trade ahead of the 2021 season to stand guard over Patrick Mahomes’ blind side.
The move paid dividends for Kansas City, which surrendered the third-least sacks in the league in 2021 (28) and 2022 (26) and is fresh off a Super Bowl victory.
But after franchise-tagging Brown last year and seeing him make his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl, the Chiefs were priced out on retaining him with a second tag or a long-term deal.
Instead, he’s now off to play with Joe Burrow, a quarterback who like Jackson and Mahomes oozes the “it factor.”
Cincinnati has met Brown’s old team in consecutive AFC Championship Games, winning the first and dropping the second, but it has yet to afford Burrow the same security in the pocket as Kansas City has Mahomes.
Burrow tore his ACL playing behind the fifth-worst offensive line in terms of sacks allowed (48) as a rookie, and the group gave up even more (55) while ranking third-worst in sacks the year Cincinnati reached the Super Bowl.
The 2022 Bengals improved with 44 sacks allowed (11th worst), but this big-money signing for the market’s best left tackle, while simultaneously nabbing him from their top AFC rival, is a step to getting back over the hump while keeping their biggest weapon safe for the foreseeable future.
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