The Cincinnati Bengals have made a significant move to strengthen their offensive line by signing four-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. to a four-year deal worth $64 million, with $43.5 million guaranteed. The signing bonus of over $31 million is the highest ever for an offensive lineman. Brown, a former Kansas City Chiefs star, was one of the best available offensive tackles in free agency and the Bengals paid a premium to land him. Other teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets, had also shown interest in Brown.
The Bengals’ offensive line has been a weak spot in recent years, and the signing of Brown immediately boosts it. Joe Burrow, the Bengals’ quarterback, has been sacked 92 times over the past two seasons, the most in the NFL in that span, and the Bengals’ offensive line has ranked last in pass block win rate, an ESPN metric powered by NFL Next Gen Stats. Brown’s addition should help to protect Burrow and improve the team’s pass blocking.
Brown will become the most accomplished player on the Bengals’ roster. He is one of just four offensive linemen in the NFL to be selected as a Pro Bowler in each of the past four seasons, along with Jason Kelce, Quenton Nelson, and Joel Bitonio. Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase was previously the only player on Cincinnati’s roster with multiple Pro Bowl selections (two).
If Brown continues to play left tackle, former first-round pick Jonah Williams will likely need to find a new position. Williams has been the Bengals’ primary starter on the left side of the line since he was drafted in 2019.
Brown, 26, was acquired by the Chiefs in a 2021 trade with the Baltimore Ravens. He was the starting left tackle for every game except one in his two seasons with the Chiefs and was a Pro Bowl selection in both campaigns, using his 6-foot-8, 340-pound frame to post a pass block win rate of 91.8% when protecting Patrick Mahomes, ranking 18th among all offensive tackles. Brown played three seasons for the Ravens, mostly as a right tackle, and asked to be traded from Baltimore so he could play left tackle, in part because he wanted to fulfill a promise made to his late father, a former NFL offensive tackle.
Overall, the signing of Brown is a significant move for the Bengals, who are looking to improve their offensive line and protect their star quarterback. With Brown’s track record of success and his size and athleticism, he should be able to make an immediate impact for the team. The Bengals will need to make some adjustments to their line to accommodate Brown, but the potential benefits of his addition make it a worthwhile move for the team.