Earl Thomas Rumors: Browns 'Feeling Good' About Signing Former Seahawks Safety

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2019

Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas stands on the field during warmups before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

The Cleveland Browns apparently aren't finished adding Pro Bowlers to their roster this offseason.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Tuesday the Browns acquired Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants. Now, they're setting their sights on free-agent safety Earl Thomas. According to CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora, Cleveland is "feeling good" about its odds of landing the nine-year veteran.

Schefter reported the Browns will send safety Jabrill Peppers—along with the 17th overall pick and a third-rounder in the 2019 draftto New York. Peppers' departure opens up an obvious void in Cleveland's secondary.

Leaving that aside, the Browns would be foolish to ignore an opportunity to sign one of the top safeties in the NFL. They allowed 257.8 yards per game through the air, good for 25th, but ranked seventh in pass defense DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average), per Football Outsiders.

A lower leg fracture ended Thomas' 2018 season after four games. Before that, he had held out the entirety of training camp and the preseason while angling for a long-term contract with the Seattle Seahawks. In his last healthy season, Thomas had 88 combined tackles, two interceptions and seven passes defended en route to earning his sixth Pro Bowl appearance in seven years.

A secondary that includes Thomas, Damarious Randall and Denzel Ward has the potential to be elite.

Expectations for the Browns in 2019 were already high after they won seven games and built a solid young core around Ward, Baker Mayfield, Myles Garrett, David Njoku, Emmanuel Ogbah and Nick Chubb.

Adding Beckham speeds up the team's timeline to contention, and another splashy signing such as Thomas opens Cleveland's Super Bowl window a little more.

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