The Baltimore Ravens understand that, while they have a very good roster, there are certain areas in which they have to improve. One of them is at the wide receiver position, where they have invested a first-round pick and two third-round picks over the course of the past two seasons, with lukewarm results.
The other is the offensive line, and arguably their second-best offensive lineman is looking to abandon ship. That would be tackle Orlando Brown, who has primarily been the Ravens’ starting right tackle for the past three seasons since he was drafted in the third round in 2018.
The problem? He insists that he is a left tackle, and wants the opportunity to play on the left side and to be paid accordingly. While the level of competition that both sides of the line face has evened out a lot in recent years—T.J. Watt is a left-side rusher, for example—the pay scale still substantially favors left tackles.
Brown is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He intends to complete that contract on another team who needs a left tackle, which does not include Baltimore. The Ravens have All-Pro Ronnie Stanley at left tackle already, whom they just gave a five-year extension averaging nearly $20 million per season back in October.
Stanley missed a big chunk of last season due to a torn ACL, and Brown moved over to the left side to finish out the season playing above the line in the spot he intends to play for the rest of his career. To that end, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reports that his representatives are now “exploring trade possibilities”, and that the team is “aware of those plans”.
Orlando Brown’s representatives have begun exploring trade possibilities for a player eyeing a full-time role at left tackle, per source. The Ravens are aware of those plans. Plenty of teams will be in the market for left tackle help in coming weeks and months.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) February 25, 2021
Presumably, this has to mean that the Ravens have granted him permission to seek a trade. They don’t want to trade him and unnecessarily create a hole in their already weakened offensive line, but players have increasingly shown in recent years that they will use whatever leverage possible to get their way, as teams have always done to get their way.
Baltimore does not have to consent to a trade, just as the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t have to trade Antonio Brown, but there comes a point in a relationship in which a parting of ways is the most appropriate solution for both parties.
That could ultimately be the case here, but presumably, it would require the Ravens receiving compensation that they covet. Would they be resolute in holding out for a first-round draft pick as compensation for Brown? That would be hard to get, given Brown’s history primarily as a right tackle, and the fact that he only has one year on his deal.