2023 Offseason Questions: How Serious Was Steelers’ Interest In Orlando Brown Jr.?

Orlando Brown Jr.

The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.

On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.

Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answered, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.

Question: How serious was the Steelers’ interest in signing tackle Orlando Brown Jr.?

It was reported last night that the Cincinnati Bengals landed a new left tackle in Orlando Brown Jr., initially drafted by the Baltimore Ravens. He helped orchestrate a trade to the Kansas City Chiefs in part due to his desire to play left tackle, but after two years he was on the market, and is now back in the AFC North, in another uniform.

But while he’ll be wearing the tiger stripes, how realistic could it have been for him to be in the black and gold? It was also reported last night that the Steelers were pursuing him, yet without further detail it’s difficult to ascertain how much salt to take that with.

At a reported $64.092 over four years, it would be, by far, the largest contract the Steelers had ever given to an outside free agent, eclipsing the comparatively modest three-year, $26.5 million deal they signed James Daniels to last year.

We’ve heard about Pittsburgh showing ‘interest’ in big-money free agents before, but were they ever really close to signing any of them? Could the departure of Kevin Colbert bring about a change in what they are willing to offer at the top of the market for outside players?

I’m not anticipating that we’ll ever learn any details about what the Steelers might have offered Brown—if they ever even reached the point of talking hard figures—but at the very least, it does indicate that they’re still looking to improve their offensive line personnel, and not just through the draft.

They currently have Dan Moore Jr. as their left tackle, who very much can be considered to be ‘in development’, so to speak. Chukwuma Okorafor on the right side wouldn’t be considered a top-10 tackle in the NFL, either.

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