Time for the Cleveland Browns to trade Joe Thomas
By Kyle Kelly
The Cleveland Browns have reached the point where it is time to trade left tackle Joe Thomas.
The Cleveland Browns are now on the clock. It’s 2007 and you’re sitting at home watching yet another NFL Draft. For Browns fans, yes it’s the Super Bowl.
On the TV, you see NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walking toward the podium with a draft selection card in his hand. The ESPN draft chime sounds and now you hear Goodell step up to the podium and say, “With the third overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select, Joe Thomas, offensive tackle, Wisconsin.”
Thomas, invited to the draft in New York, did not attend, instead he went fishing with his dad. Thomas learned he had been drafted by the Cleveland Browns on a boat in Lake Michigan via satellite radio. Little did a solid portion of Browns fans know, but the team had just drafted a Hall of Fame left tackle.
Thomas’ rookie season in 2007 has been his only winning season in his nine seasons with the Cleveland Browns. The nine-time Pro Bowler, six-time first-team All Pro and two-time second-team All Pro’s record while in Cleveland has been an execrable 47-97.
Last season at the trade deadline, the Browns were close to dealing Thomas to the Denver Broncos. The Broncos offered a first round pick, but Cleveland wanted more and trade talks broke down. Maybe for the first time as a Brown, Thomas began to entertain the idea of being traded away from the Factory of Sadness.
Once again, the Cleveland Browns are in a rebuilding mode and, this time around, it looks like they’re actually going with a full rebuild. Although, the term “rebuild” isn’t in head coach Hue Jackson‘s dictionary, he knows reality, especially after the Browns let six key free agents walk in free agency.
Next on the Cleveland Browns to-do list should be to indeed trade Thomas, something that would be best for the Browns and for Thomas. Considering he hasn’t even seen a winning season since his rookie season, it’s time for the Browns to do their due diligence and seek a trade partner for Thomas.
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Jackson may have said that, “Joe is not going anywhere, but in order to fulfill a complete rebuild, trading away Thomas is absolutely necessary. It would be a tough goodbye for the Dawg Pound to let a guy go that has shown so much respect and courtesy to the city of Cleveland, but facts are facts.
Even the best NFL offensive linemen retire in their mid 30s and 31-year-old Thomas isn’t getting any younger. And let’s be honest: a Super Bowl isn’t that likely for the Browns in the near future, so how valuable is Thomas to the team?
The Browns could likely acquire a first round pick and some change for Thomas and look for his replacement in the draft as there are some very talented offensive tackles in this year’s draft class, including Jack Conklin from Michigan State, Taylor Decker from Ohio State and Jason Spriggs from Indiana.
Although the trade remains unlikely, it’s truly a move that makes sense for the future of the Cleveland Browns. Yes it would be a tough goodbye, but it’s time to move on. If not, the Browns may be kicking themselves if they fail to complete a trade involving Thomas and, in as little as two years, he announces his retirement.