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Joe Thomas Reportedly Highest-Paid OL in NFL After New Browns Contract

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 22: Joe Thomas #73 of the Cleveland Browns leaves the field after an injure against the Tennessee Titans at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns reportedly gave left tackle Joe Thomas a raise on Saturday with the final year of his contract on the horizon. 

According to ESPN.com's Field Yates, the Browns made Thomas the NFL's highest-paid offensive lineman for the 2018 season by tacking on $3 million—including a $1.5 million roster bonus—to his existing deal. 

Thomas, 32, will now earn $13.5 million total next season. 

Los Angeles Chargers left tackle Russell Okung previously topped the charts with $12.5 million in cash earnings scheduled for 2018. 

While Yates noted "it's unclear what prompted the raise," it's a logical move for a franchise that wants to see Thomas retire as a member of the team that drafted him third overall in 2007. 

"He is a great player, a great leader and still playing at an elite level," Browns vice president Sashi Brown said in September, according to the Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto. "We see Joe retiring as Browns, period."

Thomas is still tentatively scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019, but the franchise's gesture of goodwill should speak volumes if the six-time first-team All Pro ever does hit the open market. 

The Browns announced Oct. 23 that Thomas would miss the remainder of the season because of a torn left triceps. 

Prior to hitting the shelf, Thomas played 10,363 consecutive snaps to start his career. 

       

Contract information courtesy of Spotrac.com unless noted otherwise. 

    

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