Earlier this week, it was mentioned that the Cleveland Browns are reportedly willing to trade All-Pro offensive tackle Joe Thomas for at least a second-round draft pick. Well, with the Browns sitting at 0-7 for the 2016 season after Sunday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals and the NFL’s trad deadline looming, it may not be such a bad idea for the Browns to make such a deal.
Now, anything is possible when you think about it, and it would behoove the Browns to at least thing about making such a deal. However, there are a few problems with the idea of making this deal, of course.
First, the Browns do not have the option to replace Thomas in the lineup if they, in fact, do trade him.
Their depth is poor, as one has noticed in that they have not yet replaced offensive guard Joel Bitonio, who is out for the year with a foot injury. The center position is still an issue due to Cam Erving’s slower-than-expected development and injury woes. Let’s not forget that the right tackle is not much better, as it has been a revolving door since preseason. Trading Thomas will create another issue, and probably the biggest one yet.
Second, one would ask why the Browns would take anything less than a first-round pick for such an asset as Thomas.
It is very simple, trading partners at this time of year get leery of trading high picks. The Minnesota Vikings had been linked to Thomas, but they traded away their first-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Sam Bradford, they are right against the cap (last heard to be $50,000), and they signed former top overall pick and pro bowler Jake Long. For the Vikings to make this deal, they would have to part with their 2018 first-round pick, and the Browns would wait to use it.
As for the other “contenders” as possible trade partners for Thomas – the Arizona Cardinals, the New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks – they, like the Vikings, lack the necessary cap space to take on Thomas’ contract.
Finally, as head coach Hue Jackson explicitly stated, the Browns said they don’t want to trade Thomas. Also, Thomas has repeatedly indicated that he does not want to be traded.
The Browns do not have to or are forced to, do anything. If a desperate team comes calling for offensive line help, the front office should hold out for a top offer, and not sell low on this front. It is all in the hands of Cleveland right now, and to me, trading Thomas would be a band-aid solution to all the problems that they have had throughout the years.