Bengals To Sign T Trent Brown

In need at right tackle following Jonah Williams‘ Cardinals signing, the Bengals are bringing in a longtime starter who has extensive experience on both sides of the line.

Trent Brown will leave New England for Cincinnati, per’s Ian Rapoport, who notes the recent Patriots left tackle starter is joining the Bengals on a one-year deal. The nine-year veteran is in Cincinnati on a visit Tuesday.

This could be a high-upside move for the Bengals. Though, the one-year deal is logical due to the high-variance nature of the 6-foot-8 blocker’s career. Brown, 31 next month, has played well when available. But the veteran tackle has run into various health issues throughout his career. This includes a run of absences last season.

Brown’s age-30 season included a No. 11 grade among tackles from Pro Football Focus and the second-best mark at the position in one-on-one situations, per Next Gen Stats. Brown also found himself in one-on-one assignments 88.3% of the time, which checked in as the most at the position. He also missed six games and only started eight in 2023, which continued a pattern of unavailability during the talented tackle’s career.

The Patriots reacquired Brown from the Raiders in 2021, after his then-record right tackle deal did not pan out. Although Brown made the Pro Bowl in 2019, he missed five games. A COVID-19 contraction then introduced complications in 2020, leading to just five Brown starts. The Pats, who had turned to Brown as their starting left tackle during their 2018 Super Bowl-winning season, moved him to the right side in 2021. The team, however, slid Brown back to LT upon re-signing him in 2022. Over his career, the 49ers draftee has worked as a right tackle starter in five seasons and a left-side starter in three.

The Bengals will ask the 370-pound O-lineman to give it a go on the right side once again, per’s Albert Breer, as Orlando Brown Jr. is entrenched on Joe Burrow‘s blindside. The team moved Williams to RT during the 2023 offseason, as a trade request followed. Williams played out his contract year but left to join the Cards on a two-year, $30MM agreement. In Brown, the Bengals are acquiring a higher-ceiling blocker but one whose career has brought speedbumps.

In addition to the Patriots included weight clauses in Brown’s past two contracts, they were believed to be frustrated with Brown’s inability to stay on the field. Brown missed eight games in 2021 but did suit up for all 17 games in ’22. Ankle and knee injuries hampered the Pats’ starting left tackle last year, and internal frustration with the big-bodied blocker developed within the building. The Patriots removed Brown from their injury report late last season but made him a healthy scratch. Brown did not start after Week 13 of last season and was inactive over the Pats’ final two games.

This signing could still precede the Bengals drafting a longer-term solution soon, but Brown appears positioned as the favorite to start on the right side. The Bengals still roster D’Ante Smith and Jackson Carman, but Brown (93 starts) a two-Brown O-line — so long as the larger of the two Browns is healthy — is probably the plan as of now. Should Trent Brown stay healthy, this would be one of the largest tackle tandems in NFL history, with Orlando Brown Jr. going 6-8, 345.

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