While this should come as no surprise to anyone, the Chiefs are officially placing the franchise tag on tackle Orlando Brown.
Kansas City Chiefs are franchise tagging OT Orlando Brown, per league sources. Brown becomes the first free-agent-to-be this off-season known to be getting the franchise tag.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 7, 2022
The Chiefs had traded for Brown last offseason giving the Ravens a 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th round pick in return for Brown and a 2nd and 6th round pick. The cost was high enough to where there was little doubt that Brown woud be tagged in 2022 if he was not extended. We are estimating the value of the franchise tag to be $16.658 million.
While Brown is still free to negotiate with other teams until he actually signs the offer sheet from the Chiefs, the cost of compensation attached to the tag (two first round draft picks) effectively prevents Brown from really testing free agency.
The cost of the tag will move the Chiefs over the projected salary cap for 2022. They have plenty of flexibility with the Patrick Mahomes contract and a few others to create cap space and should seriously consider cutting Frank Clark to open up cap room as well. Apparently the team is also negotiating with wide receiver Tyreek Hill on an extension that will lower his salary cap number for the year.
The franchise tag debate is always an interesting one. As a tool to negotiate a long term extension it is very useful. Ideally you get the extension done before the tag period. Where things get more dangerous for teams is when you are forced to restructure player contracts just for the purpose of tagging a player. That happens far too often. I would not be as concerned with that in this situation but in the case of Green Bay, Tennessee, and Tampa, who are all rumored to be using the tag this year, the risk factor is much higher for them.