Pro Bowl LT Joe Thomas will not ask Browns for a trade

ByPat McManamon ESPN logo
Saturday, October 15, 2016

BEREA, Ohio -- An 0-5 start and a long-term rebuild have not changed Joe Thomas' resolve to finish his career with the Cleveland Browns.

The Pro Bowl left tackle will not ask to be traded at the Nov. 1 deadline, according to a source close to Thomas.

Thomas, 31, almost was traded a year ago to Denver at the deadline, but the Browns backed out. Had he gone to the Broncos, Thomas would have won a Super Bowl.

He stayed in Cleveland, went through another coaching change and is currently on the only winless team in the NFL.

Given his tenure, dependability, talent and age, Thomas could reasonably ask for a trade and not cause problems. He has played for one winning team in Cleveland since 2007, and his window to get to the playoffs closes a little every season.

But Thomas wants to stay with the Browns, the source said.

Thomas had no comment on the upcoming trade deadline.

The Browns do not comment on trades or potential trades, but the team has made it clear in the past months it does not want to trade Thomas. Coach Hue Jackson has had nothing but positive things to say about his left tackle as well.

Speculation about Thomas being traded starts every year around the deadline, and it will stir this year given the way the Browns have overhauled their roster.

The Browns are in the early stages of a multiyear rebuild, so Thomas could look at the situation and say that by the time the team is ready to win he may be 33 or 34 -- autumn for an offensive lineman.

But Thomas likes Jackson, and he likes Cleveland. Though he expressed disappointment with more change after last season, the hiring of Jackson seemed to energize him. He lives in suburban Cleveland year-round and would like to finish his career with the team that drafted him.

This does not guarantee a trade will not happen; another team might make an offer the Browns can't refuse.

But finding a deal will be tougher than a year ago, when Denver was in need of a left tackle and the match was nearly perfect. The Browns backed out in the final minutes.

Finding a trade partner this year means finding a team that needs a left tackle and is willing to plug in a 31-year-old.

Another player who will surely be the subject of trade chatter is cornerback Joe Haden.

However, his contract makes him a difficult acquisition. A team that acquires him would be responsible for $5.34 million of his 2016 salary cap cost.

His cap cost increases to $11.2 million in 2017 and $11.1 million in 2018; $4 million of his 2017 base salary is guaranteed.

The Browns would likely want a first- or second-round pick for Haden.