Baltimore Ravens’ Orlando Brown Jr. has become one of the better offensive tackles in the league. He’s excelled on the right side since taking over the starting job midway through his rookie season. But with Ronnie Stanley suffering a season-ending ankle injury, Brown was pushed to the left side for 11 games in 2020, giving him a chance to prove his worth on the blindside.
Brown surpassed any expectations at left tackle, earning his second Pro Bowl nod in three years. He allowed just three sacks all season long and was a force both when run blocking and pass protecting, helping solidify Baltimore’s offensive line as they were ravaged by injuries. So it should come as no surprise Brown now wants to be considered a left tackle.
Though more people are coming around to the notion left and right tackles are equally important, left tackles have more notoriety and typically earn more money than their counterparts. Entering the final year of his rookie deal and seemingly adamant about his position, the Ravens should receive interest from teams around the league about acquiring Brown via trade. We’ve even taken a closer look at what trade value Baltimore could get in return for Brown, which makes it a surprisingly attractive option for the Ravens if they’re unable to get him to return for 2021.
There are no guarantees Baltimore is even interested in trading Brown. However, there are a few teams that have the need and the draft capital to make a trade happen.
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The Jaguars might just be the ideal location for Brown from everyone’s perspective. Jacksonville has a massive need for a starting left tackle, the draft capital, and the cap space to have it all make sense. The Ravens and Jaguars have also been frequent trade partners in recent years, most recently acquiring defensive end Calais Campbell from Jacksonville last offseason. Jacksonville owns the top pick in the 2021 NFL draft and seems to be destined to select Trevor Lawrence as their new franchise quarterback. But one look at what happened with the Cincinnati Bengals and quarterback Joe Burrow last year point to a need to beef up the offensive line to protect that investment. Also owning the No. 25 pick thanks to their trade of cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams, Jacksonville could try to find a top left tackle prospect or they could just go get a proven one. Cam Robinson was the Jaguars’ left tackle last season but he’s just been average while missing 17 games over four years. He’s also set to hit free agency this offseason and even middling left tackles can command good money. By trading for Brown, Jacksonville would get an immediate upgrade at the position and a year with a low cap hit before having to sign an extension, killing two birds with one stone and allowing the Jaguars to focus on other positions of need with their remaining cap dollars.
Los Angeles Chargers
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With Justin Herbert winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, the Chargers clearly have their franchise quarterback figured out. Now they just need to protect him so they can continue his development and he can put the team on the fast track to success. Los Angeles had one of the worst offensive lines in the league last season and Sam Tevi definitely isn’t the answer at left tackle. For new head coach Brandon Staley, pairing a top left tackle with their franchise quarterback and all the receiving talent on that team is a no brainer. And with an expected nine picks in the 2021 NFL draft and the ninth-most cap space, according to Over The Cap, the Chargers have the ammunition to get it done.
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According to Ian Rapoport via Panthers Wire, Carolina is expected to be aggressive in trying to acquire Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. He’d be a massive upgrade for the team but I doubt Watson would be super eager to leave one team that didn’t help him out to go to another with even fewer weapons and a worse offensive line. Regardless of if the Panthers acquire Watson, stick with Teddy Bridgewater, or go draft their new quarterback; they need to bolster that offensive line and it all starts at tackle. Russell Okung was the starter last year but between being 32 years old and missing extensive time due to injuries, he’s not a great long-term option for Carolina. Backup Greg Little has seen the field for just 358 offensive snaps over two seasons due to concussions and injuries, making him a pretty big gamble. The problem here is that the Panthers don’t have a ton of draft capital, holding just one pick in each round, according to Over The Cap. And if they’re going to make a serious push for Watson, you better believe that first-round selection is reserved for him or another quarterback. Carolina does have an early second-round pick at No. 39 and they might be able to toss in a player so it makes sense for Baltimore but it’d be anything but an easy trade to pull off.
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Indianapolis just got their newest quarterback, trading with the Philadelphia Eagles for Carson Wentz. It’s a pretty solid trade from the Colts’ perspective as they still have their first-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft, allowing them to get Wentz some help elsewhere. With Wentz’s injury history, Indianapolis would be wise to focus on keeping a great offensive line around him. And with Anthony Castonzo retiring this offseason, there’s suddenly a gaping hole at left tackle for the Colts to fill. What better way to do it and not break the bank immediately than to ship off that first-round selection for Brown and his lower 2021 cap hit? With the other players Indianapolis has on the offensive line, adding Brown would easily make it one of the best units in football and do wonders to help acclimate their new franchise quarterback.
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Star quarterback Russell Wilson has been quite vocal this offseason about how often he’s been hit and how much pressure he’s been under. Though Seattle might not be super happy with Wilson airing his grievances in public, he certainly has a point, having been sacked 47 times in 2020 and 394 times over his nine-year career. If the Seahawks are truly going to compete for another championship, protecting their best player has to be a priority. Duane Brown has been in Seattle for little more than the last three years and while he’s been really good, he’s entering his 14th year in the NFL. Adding Orlando Brown at left tackle would allow the Seahawks to push Duane Brown over to the right side where they desperately need the upgrade. With two excellent tackles, both guards should get a little help and Seattle’s offensive line should be dramatically better than the 30th ranking they had in Football Outsider’s adjusted sack rate in 2020. However, the Seahawks don’t have a first-round pick after trading for safety Jamal Adams last season. With very few picks in the 2021 NFL draft at all, it seems like Seattle would have to throw in a player at a position of need for a trade to happen, which complicates things quite a bit. Still, if the Seahawks are looking to make Wilson happy, they’d have to be interested in trading for Brown.
New York Giants
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The Giants might have selected left tackle Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft but he wasn’t very good his rookie season. According to PFF, Thomas allowed 10 sacks, making him a pretty big liability on a team that has a shot at the playoffs simply by being in the worst division in the league. With Cameron Fleming not playing much better and heading for free agency, the Giants are primed to bolster their offensive line this offseason anyway. New York has some cap space and the draft picks to make a trade happen but it’s very much dependent on whether they’d be willing to move their first-round pick to the right side and trade another first away for Brown. That’s a big ask of any team but you can’t underestimate the importance of the position to a budding franchise.
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Philadelphia is an interesting option as well. Jason Peters appears set to return for his 18th season in the NFL, but he’s clearly on the decline and with an extensive injury history, the Eagles might just let him leave in free agency this offseason. After trading Wentz, Philadelphia is going all-in with Jalen Hurst, and giving the mobile quarterback a left tackle that has played with the most mobile of quarterbacks makes some sense. At the very least, the Eagles would be wise to protect this quarterback to give him a realistic shot, unlike the previous one they let get bludgeoned for a few years. Philadelphia is now pretty flush with trade capital to make a move for Brown if they wanted. While the salary cap concerns make this a longer shot, trading for Brown would be cheaper than signing even an average left tackle in free agency.