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EXCUSE ME!? The Bengals Came From The Top Rope To Sign Orlando Brown Jr!!

Hahahaha, I just wrote a whole-ass long blog about how the Bengals were sitting on their hands while they agonized over how much guaranteed money was about to go to Joe Burrow. Hence the absence of marquee free-agent signings. Really nobody of note through about three days.

Then Duke Tobin, Mike Brown, the Blackburn sisters, et. al. said...

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Their methodical approach paid off.

The thing is I don't even know how excited to be about this on so many different levels. My first inclination is to be positive, like, "Holy shit! The Bengals invested A LOT of guaranteed money at a crucial position! And seemingly upgraded!"

First of all, Orlando Brown Jr. began his career with the Ravens, forced his way out of there because they refused to put him at left tackle over Ronnie Stanley, and then the Chiefs passed on securing a well-above-average left tackle to a multi-year accord to protect Patrick Mahomes' blind side. They instead went with former Jaguars pass-blocking stalwart Jawaan Taylor to the tune of four years, $80 million. Taylor has done nothing but play right tackle since he entered the NFL.

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I can't emphasize how hilarious that turning of the tables is. So to get it all straight, Kansas City disliked the idea of Brown being their long-term starter at left tackle so much that they paid FAR MORE for a right tackle to take his spot.

For a Bengals o-line that has been, ahem, embattled since Joey B burst onto the NFL scene, you can trust Who Dey Nation will appreciate a left tackle of Brown's caliber. What a hell of a twist this is in the rising rivalry with the Chiefs.

Fuck yeah, Orlando Brown Jr.

My main questions are these, however:

  1. Is it a red flag that Brown is already on his THIRD TEAM at age 26?
  2. Why did the Bengals decide to go HAM on Orlando Brown Jr. of all people?

I'm inclined to say (Butt-Head voice), "Uh…yeah." to that first one. Oh well. Maybe Baltimore is showing its true colors with this whole Lamar Jackson fiasco, and Kansas City, for crying out loud, traded Tyreek Hill and won the Super Bowl. They seem good at making hard decisions. They also have Patrick Mahomes, who's legitimately legendary for making off-schedule plays.

As far as the second question, the fact that the contract is so frontloaded is a good sign to me, because the whole "putting guaranteed money into escrow" maneuver is a more complicated situation that any other NFL ownership has. The Bengals simply don't have that kind of liquidity.

If you'd told me before today that the Bengals would outbid the Jets and Steelers for a blue-chip free agent thanks to greater amounts of guaranteed money, I'd have looked at you like you had…



Hydra heads.

Apologies for the interruption in our regularly scheduled Who Dey-centric programming. In case you haven't heard, I highly recommend…

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With all this guaranteed cash going to Orlando Brown Jr., though, I'm worried about what that means for Tee Higgins' future. Can Cincinnati really pay top-of-the-market money to Burrow, Higgins and Ja'Marr Chase when his extension negotiations kick off next offseason? Brown's deal makes all that more complicated.

At this moment — we saw with my two blogs today how quickly things change in the NFL — I am optimistic about Brown coming aboard. Twist the numbers and/or discount the following PFF stats all you want, but last year's left tackle, Jonah Williams, allowed 12 sacks and finished 70th out of 78 qualifying offensive tackles in run blocking grade.

He's got that glass-eating, fiery demeanor and a healthy competitive chip on his shoulder to boot.

There's going to be an out in Brown's contract by 2025, but I expect he'll play out the duration of his deal. If the Bengals can figure out all the guaranteed money, they can probably keep all the aforementioned offensive pieces. Whatever happens, this is yet another step toward reversing the public perception about the "Bungles" and that this is, indeed, a golden era of culture change for the organization.

Wonderful as this bit of news is, I will die on the hill that Cincinnati should've traded for Jalen Ramsey and/or Darren Waller. Shoot, it might've been more fiscally responsible than this Brown signing. But bring on the proactivity. Very much welcomed indeed. Welcome to the Bengals, Orlando!!

Twitter @MattFitz_gerald/TikTok