In the end, the Cincinnati Bengals made Orlando Brown Jr. an offer he couldn't refuse. The four-time Pro Bowl left tackle made headlines Wednesday night when he came to terms on with the Bengals that reportedly included over $31 million as a signing bonus.
The Steelers and Jets were also among the teams that showed interest in his client, Brown's agent said, via ESPN. But the Bengals' guaranteed money over the long term ultimately convinced Brown to sign with them.
"I'm super thankful for the opportunity to carry on my father's legacy and be a left tackle," Brown said on Wednesday night, via NFL Media. "It was important to be able to play that position and play for a winning team and a winning quarterback. Who Dey!"
Instead of joining the Steelers, Brown will face them twice a year as he did when he was a member of the Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers' interest in Brown offers insight into Pittsburgh's plans regarding offensive tackle. While it's no secret that Pittsburgh needs depth at that position, it appears that the Steelers may be looking to provide either a replacement or, at the least, competition for starting left tackle Dan Moore Jr.
With Brown out of the picture, the Steelers can choose to either pursue another tackle in free agency or address the need with a high draft pick. Pittsburgh, which owns three top-50 picks in the draft, will surely use one of them on a left tackle.
The Jets would've surely loved to have had Brown protect Aaron Rodgers' blindside next season. While former first-round pick Mekhi Becton is slated to be the team's starting left tackle, injuries have limited him to just one game over the past two seasons. Becton's backup, Duane Brown, is a five-time Pro Bowler who will turn 38 before the start of the regular season.
Brown completes the Bengals' massive overhaul on their offensive line that began shortly after Cincinnati's 23-20 loss to the Rams in Super Bowl LVI. Since that game, the Bengals have signed Brown, right tackle La'el Collins, right guard Alex Cappa and center Ted Karras. Cordell Volson, a fourth-round pick in last year's draft, broke into the starting lineup at left guard last season.
While their starting offensive line is impressive enough, the Bengals have solid backups behind them in former first-round pick Jonah Williams and former second-round pick Jackson Carman. Williams, who had been the team's starting left tackle prior to Brown being signed, could possibly compete with Collins to be the team's starting right tackle.
While they've lost several players in free agency, the signing of Brown reinforces the narrative that the Bengals are trying to maximize what they can do during Joe Burrow's prime years. Speaking of Burrow, Cincinnati's Pro Bowl quarterback is also expected to receive a long-term deal this offseason that will keep him in the Queen City for the long haul.