According to a source, the Browns had talks with the Denver Broncos early in the season after Denver lost left tackle Ryan Clady to injury in the preseason. The Broncos were willing to part with their first-round pick in 2016, but the Browns also asked for second-year linebacker Shaq Barrett, and that apparently killed the deal.
In my opinion, that rightly killed the deal. In the wise words of Ernie Accorsi, you “don’t trade young pass-rushers”. That’s what he said as Giants GM when Chargers GM AJ Smith tried to get him to include Osi Umenyiora in the famous Eli Manning/Philip Rivers deal.
With less than six hours remaining before the trade deadline, it remains to be seen if the Broncos or anyone else can pry Thomas away from Cleveland. But to offer another opinion, barring some kind of crazy Herschel Walker type offer, I think the Browns are crazy to even put Thomas on the trading block. If you’re going to conduct a fire sale properly, you want to offer players that either have expiring contracts (such as Alex Mack’s option to void after this year) or players that don’t fit in your system (potentially Barkevious Mingo). But Thomas is one of the best left tackles in the league, and more importantly he’s under contract for 3.5 more seasons. You’re supposed to construct rosters around players like that. If the Browns trade Thomas, they’re not rebuilding, they’re demolishing.
And sadly for Browns fans, it’s something that they are all too accustomed to.