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Thank you. Now, on with the silliness...
It's a beautiful fall morning here in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns play host to the Arizona Cardinals today, and we have yet to hit the bye week.
So, what's that smell? Burning leaves?
Nope, it's the ashy stench of a fire sale in progress.
That's right, just seven weeks into the season, and the usual rumormongers are out today saying that the Browns are open to discussion with respect to deals for Alex Mack, Joe Thomas, and Barkevious Mingo.
The #Browns have engaged in discussions about potentially trading two of their best players: LT Joe Thomas and C Alex Mack, sources say.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 1, 2015
Alex Mack, of course, makes sense. With the Browns rapidly playing themselves out of it, and Mack as sure-as-gone at the end of the year, there's little sense in keeping Mack around if there's value to be had and his replacement, Cameron Erving, waiting in the wings. Plus, the one-time Pro Bowl center has clearly not been himself this year, and the buyer would take on a risk that his best days are behind him.
Joe Thomas, of course, is simply a case of a player deserving better than the Browns can give him. Eight years in, Thomas is likely to be entering the downside of his career soon, but has been top-notch in 2015. His value may never be higher and, although the Browns have little behind him, Thomas could bring value to crank up a youth movement.
Problem is, of course, if these deals are made, it will give the Browns more draft choices, and the team hasn't shown an ability to take advantage of the draft choices they've had (four first round picks in the past two years has yielded one struggling starter). The team's GM, Ray Farmer, is embattled and Browns fandom doesn't exactly put a lot of stock in his wisdom these days. So, expect a lot of pushback when and if these players are dealt.
Naturally, these rumors emerge on the day before a key game against the Arizona Cardinals, with the Browns desperately attempting to salvage their season. So, thanks for that, media.
We don't put quite as much stock in the Barkevious Mingo rumor given his nebulous value and the source of the rumor. Still, if true, it could show that the Browns are in complete Fire Sale mode, open to selling off any player with the slightest value.
We'll be doing our usual digging, and subscribers can expect to hear more on our premium forums soon as we, once again, fire up Rumor Central and prepare to separate the wheat from the chaff.