The Cincinnati Bengals shocked the world on Wednesday night by signing Orlando Brown, the best offensive tackle on the free-agent market, to a four-year deal worth $64 million. Brown's projected contract numbers looked to be way out of the Bengals' range but after not getting the kind of traction he was hoping for, Brown took a front-loaded contract and will now be the Bengals' franchise left tackle.
Fans had been pretty antsy after the first several days of free agency had come and gone and the team had only re-signed Germaine Pratt and Trayveon Williams but now we know why they had been so quiet. They were cooking up something special.
When looking at Brown's PFF numbers (which is important for offensive linemen who don't have other key stats we can look at), the initial numbers are great. He had grades of 75.8 (overall), 77.2 (pass-blocking), and 69.1 (run-blocking) while allowing four sacks and getting flagged six times.
Brown also played a lights-out game in the Super Bowl despite getting some criticism ahead of the game. Per Jeff Kerr's tweet below, Brown allowed just one pressure on 31 pass-blocking snaps. Yes, the field was a slip and slide but the players were all on the same field and Brown dominated.
What grade do the Bengals deserve for signing Orlando Brown Jr.?
Don't get me wrong -- This was a great move for Cincinnati and ensured that they'd have their franchise left tackle during what's hopefully going to be a Super Bowl window. That being said, it's not all sunshine and rainbows, unfortunately.
While Brown only surrendered four sacks during the 2022 season, he allowed 47 pressures, which isn't nothing (sorry for the double-negative). Some of the other free-agent tackles that Bengals fans were interested in allowed far fewer (Jawaan Taylor 16, Kaleb McGary 19, Mike McGlinchey 27) and even Jonah Williams allowed 43.
Now look, allowing more pressures is certainly better than allowing more sacks but it's not something to totally ignore. The Bengals made the best possible move they could have at left tackle though and that's obviously a factor here.
For this move, I'm giving the Bengals an A-.