The Cleveland Browns should pursue Earl Thomas to fill a need at safety.
When Earl Thomas was released by the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday afternoon, I sat back and had a good chuckle.
At the immediate announcement of his release, Derrick Henry was trending on Twitter. Of course, juxtaposing the AFC Divisional playoff game where Henry stiff-armed Thomas out of the Milky Way Galaxy.
I even went as far to tweet the still image of Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb sprinting past Thomas to secure a September win versus Baltimore.
At the time of his release, I wanted nothing to do with Earl Thomas on the Cleveland Browns.
He seems like a match made in heaven for Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys, a recently troublesome, dimming, defensive star in search of another contract and Super Bowl ring. It also seemed like a signing that would have been greatly contemplated by the Ghost of Cleveland Browns Past, former general manager John Dorsey, who had a track record of ignoring negative personality traits.
Less than 48 hours ago, I certainly scoffed at his release and was confident the new Browns brass would not consider such a headache.
But this is the world of elite sport. Things change and feelings evolve, as did mine on Monday night. Monday afternoon’s practice was a recurring theme for the Cleveland Browns: injuries.
Of course, the team was already practicing without starting defensive players Mack Wilson and Kevin Johnson, who are respectively dealing with a knee hyperextension and lacerated liver.
Then, Monday, after the weekend’s false alarm COVID-19 scare, a pair of second-round selection injuries happen back-to-back with 2019’s Greedy Williams leaving the field early with a trainer and 2020’s Grant Delpit being carted off the field with a later confirmed blown achilles.
Three of the team’s eleven defensive starters will presumably be sidelined for the next few weeks. One of them is already out until 2021. The Browns lace up to play the Ravens in Baltimore in less than three weeks. Unsettling news is an understatement for this defense.
Andrew Berry swiftly addressed Wilson’s vacancy at linebacker by adding Super Bowl XVIII MVP Malcolm Smith as a free agent. Now, Smith’s former Seattle teammate, Earl Thomas, should join him in Cleveland.
Reuniting an aging Legion of Boom for cheap will undoubtedly bring veteran voices to Cleveland’s very young defensive core while filling valuable on-the-field positions for cheap.
The Browns are widely expected to make some noise in the AFC North this year, and that will not happen unless they can find a way to interrupt Greg Roman’s run-happy Ravens. What better way to debunk the scrambling gimmicks of Lamar Jackson than to bring in a guy, who will be looking for revenge, that was just in the same locker room less than three days ago?
Still not sold? Let me paint you a picture.
Earl Thomas struts into the Berea headquarters and has an outstanding meeting with Berry and Kevin Stefanski. He signs his one-year offer sheet to prove himself as a Brown.
Then, after being suited up in a brand new brown and orange t-shirt and hat, he heads down the hall to meet with new defensive coordinator Joe Woods, who was just the best defensive backs coach in all of football last season. In the film room, socially distant, of course, Thomas shares all the secrets of what made the Legion of Boom tick, and how it can stop the team that just released him.
While it’s undoubtedly a long shot that the new Browns regime will kick the tires on Thomas, especially fresh off the heels of a fight with a teammate, being late to meetings and an awkward offseason headline, if he can prove his value as a leader inside the building, his play as a three- All-Pro will be enough for Berry’s consideration.