- Orlando Brown Jr. has options: A second franchise tag for the Kansas City Chiefs tackle — or an extension — seems possible. If not, he could have a lot of suitors.
- Chicago Bears would be a great fit for Mike McGlinchey: The San Francisco 49ers tackle could take his talents to Chicago, where he could help improve the protection around Justin Fields.
- Kaleb McGary could help replace Taylor Lewan: The Tennessee Titans need tackle help in a bad, and McGary could be the man to save the day.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
The 2023 NFL Draft's tackle crop has some enticing prospects, but before then, we have a solid list of free agents that figure to sign some solid contracts with some teams who are not certain they can land their favorite prospect.
With that said, the top five free-agent tackles should have a handful of suitors, as several are coming off very good seasons. In the piece, we will project where they could be playing next.
Orlando Brown Jr.
2023 team prediction: New England Patriots
The Patriots are expected to let 2018 first-round pick tackle Isaiah Wynn walk in free agency after a tumultuous 2022 campaign, and Trent Brown is not a long-term solution at either tackle spot but can hypothetically slide back over to the right side.
It’s possible the Kansas City Chiefs place a second consecutive franchise tag on Brown and/or work out a multi-year deal, but Patrick Mahomes’ elite ability to not let pressures become sacks makes it unnecessary to make a top-of-market investment on the blindside.
Brown didn’t really do much to change his perception this year — he is a good but not great tackle. New England has been aggressive in free agency in recent years and is desperate for help at the position, though. Brown earned a 60.0-plus pass-blocking grade in every 2022 contest from Week 5 on, with 11 70.0-plus game grades over the stretch. He’d be a massive addition to this Patriots tackle group.
2023 team prediction: Chicago Bears
The Bears tried going with a stop-gap option at right tackle last season by signing veteran Riley Reiff, but he endured an injury-plagued season and was also average when on the field. Adding McGlinchey to this line would help give the Bears a long-term solution at RT, forming a promising right side of the offensive line with Teven Jenkins. In his career, McGlinchey has mostly been a better run than pass blocker, and while there is a chance that the Bears look to air it out more with better receivers around Justin Fields, they will still look to dominate on the ground with Fields’ mobility, which plays into McGlinchey’s strengths as a blocker.
2023 team prediction: Denver Broncos
Taylor is a pending free agent who is generating a lot of buzz around the league, which is understandable considering he’ll be just 25 years old through the first two months of the 2023 season while his 73.6 pass-blocking grade on true pass sets over the past two seasons ranks eighth among right tackles.
New Broncos head coach Sean Payton always prioritized a stout offensive line in New Orleans, notably making Ryan Ramczyk the highest-paid right tackle in the NFL before taking his hiatus. While the Broncos may not make a huge splash in free agency given quarterback Russell Wilson’s contract and their lack of draft capital to add cheaper contracts, if they did, Taylor would probably be a target.
2023 team prediction: Tennessee Titans
McGary’s career arc is similar to Jack Conklin, as he was a first-round pick whose fifth-year option was declined by the team that drafted him before posting the best season of his career in his contract year. McGary recorded a 91.6 run-blocking grade (second) and an 86.6 overall PFF grade (fourth-best). Due to Atlanta not having a veteran quarterback on the books, it should give its young quarterback a reliable tackle. McGary and Chris Lindstrom may be the best run-blocking guard-tackle duo in the league.
The Titans struggled across the offensive line in 2022, and their blue-chip left tackle of the last decade, Taylor Lewan, was one of the first cuts of the offseason. Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith can put in a good word to his former club, where he served in various roles from 2011-20, and likely focus his offseason efforts on a major extension for Atlanta’s other 2019 first-round pick, Lindstrom.
2023 team prediction: Indianapolis Colts
Wynn had a tumultuous tenure on his rookie contract with the New England Patriots, missing his entire rookie 2018 season to injury as well as good chunks of time in 2019 and 2020. Nevertheless, over the 2019-21 seasons, Wynn earned 70.0-plus pass-blocking grades each year, and his 79.6 overall grade ranked 26th among tackles.
Injuries are a legitimate concern, and the Patriots seemed to reach a boiling point in 2022 due to the lack of certainty, but Wynn will be just 26 years old for most of his sixth NFL season and has logged significant time at both tackle spots. We projected a deal that is right about the same value as his 2022 fifth-year option but over a two-year stretch. Perhaps Wynn looks to take a one-year flier instead if he thinks he can boost his stock into a multi-year deal.
If the Chiefs give Brown the franchise tag, it could be great news for Wynn, as he would then arguably become the top young free agent with extensive experience playing on the left side. His ability to play on both sides could also be appealing to teams looking for security at both spots.
The Colts need help at left tackle and with Braden Smith occasionally kicking inside to guard, it wouldn’t hurt to have a player that could slide over in a pinch as well. Wynn could be a solid option without breaking the bank, as there is already so much money allocated to several starters on the unit.