The NY Jets tried to make a major splash in free agency this offseason in the form of four-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. Brown would ultimately agree to a four-year, $64 million contract with the Cincinnati Bengals instead, but the Jets gave it their best shot.
In a recent appearance on the Cincinnati Bengals Talk podcast, Brown detailed how the Jets made a serious attempt to sign him and even "had a better price," but he still chose to sign with the Bengals.
Brown confirmed that he "definitely" received higher offers than the contract the Bengals handed him but that it was never about the money for him. He signed with Cincinnati because of the situation.
Brown detailed what went into his thought process to reject the Jets' offer, focusing primarily on the lack of certainty surrounding Aaron Rodgers and the quarterback position.
"There [were] a few other teams involved — especially the New York Jets, was the other option as well. They were kind of going through things with Aaron Rodgers trying to figure all of that out, and honestly, they had a better price, but ultimately man, this was the best situation for me."- Orlando Brown Jr.
The NY Jets tried hard to sign Orlando Brown Jr. in free agency
The Jets have been criticized by some for their lack of urgency to address the offensive tackle position this offseason. The team passed on adding a tackle early in the 2023 NFL Draft and opted for veteran swing tackle Billy Turner in the latter stages of free agency.
This shows that the Jets did make an attempt to upgrade in a big way, however. Brown has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last four seasons, and while he's been adamant about playing left tackle, he does have experience at both tackle spots.
It's unclear what the addition of Brown would have meant for the incumbent Duane Brown or even Mekhi Becton, but it's hard to argue with the Jets' thought process here. Unfortunately, there's only so much a team can do.
The Bengals have made consecutive AFC Championship Games, had a proven young franchise quarterback, and a talented core of players. The Jets, despite their optimism, didn't have a deal in place for Rodgers at the time.
Maybe things would have been different had Rodgers already been under contract, but we'll never know. Instead, the Jets will be relying on the likes of Brown and Becton this season to not only stay healthy but stabilize an offensive line riddled with uncertainty.
You can't fault the Jets for trying — it just wasn't meant to be.