Projected trade could see Browns swapping first-round tackles

Could the Cleveland Browns come together on a trade involving two offensive tackles?
Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The Cleveland Browns are 3-2 and just finished beating arguably the best team in the entire league with a tough, gritty win against the San Francisco 49ers. Even though it wasn't perfect, the outcome of the game was. But over the long haul of a 17-game season, areas of this Browns roster that are weak right now could become liabilities that cost the team dearly in a season where they clearly have a chance to compete.

And by weak areas that could become long-term liabilities, I'm of course referring to the team's left tackle situation. Jedrick Wills, the 2020 first-round pick, is simply not getting the job done. Although his career got off to a promising start, Wills has not developed into a long-term fixture at the tackle position for Cleveland and the team could look to move on from him after this season one way or another.

But should they just sit around and do nothing at the tackle spot when they maybe have a chance to do something? The Browns, back in 2015, almost came to an agreement with the Denver Broncos on a trade that would send Hall of Fame tackle Joe Thomas to the Broncos in exchange for pass rusher Shaquil Barrett and draft picks.

That never came to fruition and obviously, Thomas finished his career in Cleveland, but wouldn't it be something if the two sides struck up a conversation again here in 2023, eight years later, and the Broncos potentially helped Cleveland shore up their tackle position as they gear up for an AFC North title run?

What if the Browns could entice the Broncos in a player-for-player swap, perhaps even sending another pick back Denver's way to get the veteran Bolles off their hands?

Potential Jedrick Wills for Garett Bolles swap

Garett Bolles trade

This way, the Browns receive a more proven option at the left tackle position, someone who would raise the level of play at a crucial position and at a crucial time for this franchise. The Broncos would receive a dart in next year's NFL Draft, but also a player for new offensive line coach Zach Strief to potentially mold and see if they can get the best out of him.


Both of these teams have it in their budget for 2024 to have a bigger-money tackle on the books, and neither would be under a ton of pressure to really stick with these guys in 2024 if things didn't work out.

I think these kinds of trades are far-fetched options for teams in the middle of the season because of the learning curve that is required, but Bolles has played in systems like Kevin Stefanski's before and he's no stranger to learning new offenses on the fly. I think this trade could greatly benefit the Browns, and would give a reloading Broncos team another young option at a key position to give a shot.

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