Browns reportedly make Joe Thomas NFL’s highest-paid lineman

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns rewarded injured left tackle Joe Thomas by adding some extra cash to his existing deal to make him the league’s highest-paid lineman in 2018.

The Cleveland Browns did right by left tackle Joe Thomas on Saturday as the team has reportedly reworked his deal to make him the highest-paid offensive lineman in the league next season.

According to Field Yates at ESPN, the Browns added $3 million in new money to Thomas’ contract. The new contract paid Thomas a roster bonus of $1.5 million in the past few days, and includes a $1.5 million raise for his salary in 2018, which brings his base salary to a tidy $10.3 million.

Once you add in his bonuses and salary, Thomas will pocket $13.5 million in cash in 2018, according to Yates.

This deal continues to put to rest the narrative that owner Jimmy Haslam is “cheap” and that the front office team lead by executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown has no interest in retaining the team’s best players.

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The Thomas deal follows the offseason work of giving a new deal to left guard Joel Bitonio; resigning linebacker Jamie Collins and cornerback Jamar Taylor; and adding center J.C. Tretter, right guard Kevin Zeitler and cornerback Jason McCourty in free agency.

Yep, sounds like people have pegged the Browns perfectly.

Thomas was Cleveland’s first-round draft pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, the third-overall selection, and had not missed a play before tearing a triceps muscle against the Tennessee Titans in Week 7.

The injury required surgery and the recovery time has been set at six to nine months. Even before he was injured, Thomas had talked about how retirement was closer than anyone wanted to talk about. Looking at a long recovery made it seem as if that possibility could become a reality as soon as the upcoming offseason.

But it is also the type of injury that is not as significant (easy for us to say) as a knee injury, for example, and it is hard to think of an injury ending Thomas’ career. The new deal, however, makes it seem extremely likely that Thomas will be back in 2018.

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Since joining the Browns Thomas has built a Hall of Fame career as one of the best left tackles in league history, and has been one of the few bright spots amid all the losing. He has made 10 Pro Bowls and been selected as an All-Pro six times.