Would the Ravens trade Orlando Brown Jr. in hindsight?


When the Baltimore Ravens traded Orlando Brown Jr. to the Kansas City Chiefs, it felt like they were working from a strong position. The Ravens had Pro Bowl talent at both bookend positions with Ronnie stanley and Brown on the left and right, respectively, with an entire offseason to plan for building a pipeline for the future as well, including an upcoming draft class.

Two months into the regular season and the story has changed completely.

Tuesday, Stanley finally decided to have end-of-season surgery on an ankle that clearly wasn’t straight at any point since last season, despite his best efforts to get back on the pitch in 2021. This has been made official what analysts had guessed for some time– that the Ravens wouldn’t see Stanley as their protector on the blind side for some time given he had only played one game in 2021 so far – in Week 1.

Would the Ravens trade Orlando Brown Jr. again knowing how Ronnie Stanley would fare?

Stanley’s problems date back to last season when, shortly after signing a lengthy contract extension, he fell with an ankle injury ending the season in week 8. From there, Stanley had to deal with considerable rehab just to be able to replay in Week 1, but something was clearly wrong. Still, morale was higher during the offseason when there were months of the track before Stanley, a time when he could rest, recover and get back in shape.

During this time, the Ravens knew they had a window to trade Brown for significant assets in return. Brown wanted big free agency pay the following year and he wanted to stay on the left tackle instead of coming back to the right side when Stanley was back. Instead of forcing him to play his rookie contract and figure things out as he went along, the Ravens traded Brown for the Chiefs in exchange for several draft picks.

At the time, that decision gave the Ravens another first-round pick to use as they see fit, and they must certainly love Odafe Oweh’s early returns. However, the team are demoted to Alejandro Villanueva as a free agent replacement in the meantime and have made no further effort to bolster the offensive tackle point with top-tier assets via the draft, even in a loaded class. Instead, they went to pass the rusher and wide receiver with their two first-round picks.

Now it’s Villanueva and Patrick Mekari and, yes, that’s just not a combination that anyone in Baltimore probably wanted to see in a year they’re thinking about the Super Bowl. The squad is performing well and the Ravens are currently doing well, but at some point this lack of top talent and overall attrition must take its toll, right?

All of this makes us wonder if the Ravens would re-trade with the Chiefs knowing all of this in hindsight? Would they still take the plunge for a first-round comeback (really, the Chiefs also had Creed Humphrey in the deal, so it wasn’t quite the comeback that it initially seemed on paper) or the Would Ravens have preferred to keep Brown for such a long time like this?

If the Ravens still had Brow, he would play his rookie contract while still giving them predictable, high-level play at either tackle point, the kind of rare safety for a loss so large that few teams can never take advantage of it. Now it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Ravens strike a deal to bolster the offensive line, although to be fair they will have to bid a little higher than expected given the number of other teams also in the market to get some help upstream.

I guess the Ravens would have clung to Brown if they had taken a more pessimistic take on Stanley’s takeover as a front office, which means Rashod Bateman or Oweh would be with another team right now. Instead, the Ravens will now be hoping these current measures can hold up over a long season and playoff series.

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