Orlando Brown Jr. says his father’s dream, not money, is reason for desire to stay at LT

Matthew Stevens
·4 min read

Brown has been a surprise at every step. At least, he has been if you haven’t been paying attention.

It all started during the lead-up to the 2018 NFL draft. Viewed by many as having the talent level of a first-round pick, a terrible combine performance saw analysts and teams shy away from Brown as many questioned everything from his work ethic to his heart. Ultimately, the Baltimore Ravens pounced on the opportunity, snatching Brown in the third round.

That summer, Brown outplayed James Hurst throughout training camp and looked every bit the first-round talent and starter everyone had initially viewed him as. But Baltimore, often reluctant to start rookies, put Hurst into the starting role at the beginning of the season. It took until Hurst suffered an injury in Week 6 before Brown was thrust into the starting lineup, an opportunity he has yet to relinquish for even one snap.

Brown had a similar taste of success this past season, filling in at left tackle for Ronnie Stanley, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 8 against the Pittsburgh Steelers just days after signing a massive contract extension with Baltimore. Once again, Brown didn’t skip a beat, playing extraordinarily well and earning a Pro Bowl nomination. And now, it appears he’s not ready to give up the starting job.

Brown sent out a cryptic tweet in late January, simply saying he’s a “LEFT Tackle.” While many rushed to interpret the tweet’s meaning, going as far as to wonder if Brown would force a trade this offseason, Brown offered no explanation. Until now, at least.

Brown ended his silence on the matter, pulling quotes from an article from The Baltimore Sun’s Daniel Oyefusi over two tweets. Brown explained his desire to remain at left tackle had nothing to do with making more money or holding a grudge against the team, but about living out his father’s dream for him.

If the name Orlando Brown sounds familiar, it’s because Brown Jr.’s father once played in Baltimore as well. Brown had lined up at right tackle for six seasons with the Ravens and was well-known as an enforcer on the offensive line. But he wanted better for his son.

Though the tide has begun to change in recent years, many still view right tackles as inferior players, usually citing the quarterback’s blind side (which is on the left side for a right-handed quarterback) as being more important. While Brown says his issue has nothing to do with money, it’s fair to point to the disparity in pay between the two positions. Of the 25 highest-paid offensive tackles in the league (in APY), there are just six right tackles, according to Over The Cap.

Between the pay and respect, Brown would be justified in wanting to stay at left tackle. And by earning a Pro Bowl nod for his play at left tackle in 2020, Brown has certainly deserving of his request. However, things aren’t quite that simple.

While Stanley did suffer a devastating knee injury, he’s clearly the Ravens’ left tackle when healthy — whether because of his previous All-Pro-caliber play or because of his $15.25 million cap hit in 2021. And though Baltimore would be smart to lock up both Stanley and Brown for the long haul and solidify the ends of their offensive line, it would mean one has to be at right tackle while the other stays on the left side.

It’s unclear exactly how far Brown is willing to go in his desire to stay at left tackle and it’s equally unclear what the Ravens are willing to do if he presses the situation. Top tackles are worth their weight in trade value, which Baltimore typically loves. But with the Ravens having a run-first offense and being viewed as Super Bowl contenders, jettisoning one of their top players isn’t likely something general manager Eric DeCosta would be excited to do.

Though it’s nice to hear Brown’s explanation and everyone should respect him for it, it doesn’t do much to clarify the situation. Baltimore could be in for a very interesting offseason depending on how adamant Brown is on his role with the team.

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