The Chiefs Choose to not Franchise Tag Left Tackle Orlando Brown Jr.: Three Possible Replacements if the Chiefs Don’t Extend the Pro Bowler

The Chiefs and Orlando Brown Jr. didn’t agree to the franchise tag tender a week before the start of free agency, which seemingly means the Chiefs are going to move on from their left tackle. For many in Chiefs Kingdom, it’s weird to see the Chiefs willing to move on from a Super Bowl Champion left tackle, but the Chiefs have learned that sentimentality can cost championships. But who could possibly replace the former All-Pro Left Tackle for the Chiefs? Here are three possible replacements.

Anton Harrison – Oklahoma – Draft

Anton Harrison is one of the best offensive line prospects in this April’s draft and will probably not make it past the 19th spot in Tampa Bay. He has a lot of the intangibles most teams would want. He has excellent feet, and great hands, and is really athletic for a guy who is 6-foot-4, 315 pounds.

For the Chiefs to move up, they will have to trade with the Bucs or a team above them to get him as it seems he will not make it to the Chiefs at 31. Harrison seems to be the fit the Chiefs would want at left tackle, he is very adept at pass blocking and can maul when run blocking.

KC seems to be in a prime position to trade up with ten overall selections in the 2023 NFL Draft, and there is a lot of speculation the Chiefs will move up regardless of who they get in free agency. 

Donovan Smith – Free Agent 

If the Chiefs go after a free agent left tackle, Donovan Smith seems to be the safest option, a six-year vet who has been playing solid football for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, helping them win a Super Bowl in 2020. Smith has had some health issues during the last two seasons and was sat out during the last four games of the 2022 season.

Smith isn’t a first choice for most people, he isn’t a younger tackle or on the same level as Brown, but he might be a good stop-gap left tackle until the Chiefs find a long-term solution at the blindspot position. He’d be a lot cheaper and only 29 years old, if he can stay healthy for a full year at Kansas City, it could lead to a long-term contract on another team or a short-term deal to stay in KC.

He could be a quality bargain starter for the Chiefs and help the Chiefs fill other needs in the 2023 draft.

Blake Freeland – BYU – Day 2 Pick

Blake Freeland is one of the few under-the-radar tackle prospects in the draft and he probably would be a great fit for the Chiefs as a long-term solution. Freeland started all four seasons for BYU and played both left and right tackle for the Cougars. Freeland was a quality starter for all four years and was seen as a possible first-round pick after his junior season, but he stayed his senior season and will probably fall due to the amount of talent at the offensive tackle position this season.

Freeland had an outstanding combine, breaking the offensive lineman vertical jump record with a 37-inch vertical, which is better than AJ Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, and Stefon Diggs’ combined vertical. He had one of the best 40-yard dash times for the OL with a 4.96 and a broad jump of 10 feet. He is a freak of an athlete because he did all of that as he is 6-foot-8, 304 pounds, and he can really move bodies. While the combine isn’t the end-all-be-all, the athleticism for a guy of his size and his body build is just impressive, and should be seen as he could be a guy to look out for.

If the Chiefs find a cheap veteran left tackle in free agency, using their first three picks on other needs instead of a left tackle would be great, and then drafting Freeland in the third or fourth round would be ideal and have the young tackle develop.

Freeland has a lot of potential but it could be a year until he can start for KC. This is the long-term solution for the Chiefs as it seems like they need to go and get an edge rusher or safety in the first round and this could give them the flexibility to take the future blindside tackle. 

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