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Browns Contact Thomas Regarding Possible Trade
Thursday, April 28
The Browns have informed Thomas that they have "no plans" to trade him, per Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com.
Sashi Brown, the Browns' executive vice president of football operations, emphasized on March 21 that the team has no desire to trade Thomas.
"That's not our plan at all," Brown told Grossi. "Our plan is not to trade Joe Thomas."
Nevertheless, buzz surrounding a potential trade for Thomas has remained high. Grossi himself said he felt the team would trade Thomas before or at the draft, per ESPN Cleveland.
Thomas Holds Immense Trade Value For Browns
As Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports wrote on March 20, "There are plenty of execs who believe the Browns should and will explore moving veteran left tackle Thomas, one of the few valuable commodities they retain on a threadbare roster."
La Canfora also noted that while Thomas would never request a trade, he would absolutely be open to a move to a contender. And it would be a logical move from Cleveland's perspective, as the team is fairly obviously in a rebuilding mode and could likely garner a first-round pick for Thomas and clear the $30 million he's owed over the next three years.
As Pat McManamon wrote, "The strategy of the new regime...is to amass as many draft picks as possible."
Thomas, 31, has gone to nine Pro Bowls in his nine seasons in the league, establishing himself as one of the top left tackles in the NFL. He's not the type of talent teams like losing, but the Browns are currently without an established quarterback, elite offensive weapons, a solid offensive line outside of Thomas and a top-notch defense.
The front office will never come out and say it wants to trade Thomas—that would kill its leverage—but it's hard to imagine that if the rest of the NFL knows Thomas is the team's most valuable commodity, the Browns don't know that as well. If the team is all-in on another rebuilding effort through the draft, trading Thomas for picks has to at least be an option.
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