Baltimore Ravens should trade Orlando Brown Jr.
The Baltimore Ravens have little choice but to trade starting right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. if he wants to be paid like a left tackle.
Baltimore Ravens tackle Orlando Brown Jr. took to Twitter on Friday evening to make it clear he sees himself as a left tackle, after performing admirably in the role this year following the injury to Ronnie Stanley.
Unless Brown just really cares which side he lines upon, this is almost certainly his way of asserting he expects to be paid “left tackle money” as he enters the final year of his rookie contract in 2021.
With Stanley and Marlon Humphrey both already signing big, long-term deals in the last year, and Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews both due extensions as well, the odds that there will be money left for Brown contract already seemed unlikely, and his assertion that he should be paid like a left tackle, rather than a right tackle, only makes those chances even slimmer.
Because of that, speculation immediately arose on Friday that Brown could be a trade candidate this offseason.
With Stanley set to return in 2021, Orlando Brown Jr. will no longer be needed on the blindside, and the Ravens shouldn’t face too tall a task finding a passable replacement internally (Tyre Phillips, anyone?), in free agency, or through the draft. After all, Brown himself was a third-round pick three years ago.
A team is never “better” for trading a high-end tackle. But if there were ever a time to do it, now is that time for the Ravens. A trade would almost surely fetch a far greater return than the comp pick Baltimore would receive when Brown inevitably departs after the 2021 season, as evidenced by the king’s ransom the Miami Dolphins received for Laremy Tunsil in August of 2019.
Tunsil had another year of control on his contract, and the Dolphins also sent receiver Kenny Stills in addition to fourth- and sixth-round picks to Houston, but managed to secure two first-round picks and a second-round pick in the deal.
But even so, it’s hard to envision a scenario where Brown’s similar level of play and remarkably affordable cap number don’t warrant a first-round draft choice and change.
With David Culley taking the head coaching position with the Houston Texans, the Ravens have already gained an additional third-round pick in the 2021 draft, and should also stand to net a comp pick in the later rounds for the loss of Michael Pierce last offseason. Even if Orlando Brown Jr. only netted the first-round choice, the Ravens would then be sitting with eight choices, including three in the top 58 picks.
The bottom line:
With that much ammunition, Baltimore would have the ability to add a bevy of high-end talent, and could even elect to stock up even further if they opted to trade out of one or more of their top choices. To make things even more exciting, that kind of ammo also creates the option of trading up if a top offensive player is still sitting there in the middle of the first round.
Shipping out a fan favorite is never easy, but the clock is ticking for the Ravens to recoup value on a serious commodity. They should make the move while they still can.