It only took the Ravens a little over a year to learn their selection of Orlando Brown was a wise one, but they've met a new challenge with the tackle that could be their last.
Brown has expressed his desire to be traded, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday. After spending the majority of 2020 on the left side in place of the injured Ronnie Stanley, Brown has found his comfort zone and does not want to return to the right side. He'll only play for a team that will line him up at his preferred left tackle position, per Rapoport.
Rapoport added the Ravens value Brown significantly and would need major compensation in order to do a deal.
Brown's background is on the left side, but he ended up in Baltimore as a right tackle after a poor pre-draft showing saw him slide from a first-round projection to an eventual third-round pick of the Ravens. He blossomed in 2019 and especially in 2020 after switching to the left side to replace Stanley, earning his second straight trip to the Pro Bowl -- and first as an initial selection. Thanks to Brown's quick adjustment to the left side of the line, Baltimore didn't lose much in offensive production following Stanley's injury, finishing as the league's No. 1 rushing offense for a second straight season.
Brown's success on the left side and desire to remain there might very well also be tied to the financial ramifications of the tackle position. As it currently stands, there is a $5 million per year difference between the league's highest-paid right tackle (Philadelphia's Lane Johnson) and left tackle (Green Bay's David Bakhtiari). Of the top 10 highest-paid tackles in the NFL (in terms of average salary per year), only two -- Johnson and Las Vegas' Trent Brown -- are right tackles.
Orlando Brown missed out on significant money typically afforded to first-round picks right around the moment when he racked the bar after just 14 bench-press reps during a nightmarish 2018 NFL Scouting Combine. He's made a little over $1.8 million in base salary total in his first three seasons, and though he will see a significant boost in 2021 (base salary of $3.38 million) due to the structure of his rookie deal, that's still an incredibly far cry from where tackles of his level land in compensation ranking.
After demonstrating his ability to effectively handle the transition from right to left tackle -- a return to his roots, essentially -- Brown is in a prime position to capitalize financially and beyond. He'll maximize his earning potential by remaining a left tackle, and he'll probably enjoy playing the game a bit more in a stance and vantage point that's more familiar to him, anyway.
If that doesn't fit in Baltimore, the Ravens will have to move him. And though this isn't exactly the best way to ensure maximum leverage in a deal, they'll probably still get a haul for him.