Cleveland Browns: 5 important veterans for 2016
By Thomas Moore
The Browns are replacing 40 percent of their offensive line after losing Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz in free agency, and things may get rough before they get better.
Cameron Erving is taking over at center and, as talented as he may be, he’s not going to be Mack, especially early in the season. The same can be said at right tackle, where several players, starting with rookie Shon Coleman, will work though training camp to claim the starting slot.
Even Joel Bitonio, who has quickly become one of the best young guards in the league, is still only entering his third season and has a lot to learn.
While it may not be the same as the wide receiver group, Thomas can still impart wisdom on the younger members of the offensive line. He may not be a vocal public leader, but there is no question that Thomas understands what it takes to play on an NFL offensive line. He showed that last year in his comments about Erving, pointing out technique is just as important as strength for an offensive lineman.
Keeping Thomas on the team not only keeps the left tackle position among the league’s best, but also adds an experienced voice for the youngsters to turn to when things go south.
Next: Cornerback Joe Haden