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On the whole, the Kansas City Chiefs‘ roster is pretty set. While there are some positional battles that still have to play out, the underlying skeleton of the team shouldn’t change. There is one outstanding question mark, though: Orlando Brown Jr.

After making an impact on KC’s new-look offensive line in 2021, the big tackle is seeking a new contract. The Chiefs hit him with the franchise tag, and, after Brown found a new agent, it seemed like there was smooth sailing ahead. It appears there’s been an unforeseen issue, though.

According to recent reports about Kansas City, the two sides aren’t anywhere close to an agreement. If things don’t improve by Friday, July 15, that reality could have season-changing consequences for the Chiefs.

Orlando Brown and the Kansas City Chiefs have hit a snag during negotiations

While the franchise tag does keep a player on the books for an extra year, it can also be used to give both parties more time to hash out a long-term contract. When it comes to Orlando Brown and the Kansas City Chiefs, though, it seems like that plan hasn’t worked out.

As mentioned above, talks were slow to begin since the tackle was seeking a new agent. After he got that squared away, though, negotiations were expected to be a relatively smooth process. That apparently hasn’t been the case.

According to Matt Verderame of FanSided, Brown and the Chiefs have reached a “stalemate” over financials. The lineman, it seems, is “seeking to reset market at upwards of $25M/year,” and Kansas City is understandably hesitant about that level of financial commitment.

To make things even worse, the deadline for signing a longer-term deal is Friday, July 15. Should that contract fail to materialize, it could materially affect the Chiefs on the field.

“Now here’s the rub,” Mike Garafolo explained on NFL Total Access. “I’m not expecting, if there’s no long-term deal, I’m not expecting Orlando Brown for the start of training camp or really any time during training camp. That is my understanding. … And even Week 1 is in question.”

Brown’s absence could damage the Chiefs’ chances in what could be a season of fine margins

Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Orlando Brown during a game.
Kansas City Chiefs tackle Orlando Brown. | Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In previous years, it would be easy to say that the Kansas City Chiefs had the offensive firepower to overcome the loss of any offensive lineman. While that still could be true, Brown’s absence would also further increase the challenges the club is facing in 2022.

The loss of Tyreek Hill, no matter how understandable it might be, still places some added stress on the Chiefs’ offense. The unit still has plenty of talent, but it remains to be seen how they’ll work together. It’s quite possible that there will be some growing pains during the first few weeks of the campaign. Playing those early games without your starting left tackle would only make things even trickier.

Beyond that, the Chiefs could also face some fine margins in their hunt for a playoff berth. Not only has the rest of the AFC West improved, but KC has one of the tougher schedules in the league. If you assume that reality, combined with normal ups and downs, will account for four or five losses across the season, there isn’t much room to slip. An extra defeat or two could mean the Chiefs are playing a first-round game in Buffalo or Cincinnati. Neither of those games would be automatic season-enders, but they’re still less-than-ideal.

At this point, there’s still some time for Kansas City and Orlando Brown to come to a long-term agreement. Failure to do so could be a lose-lose situation for both parties.

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