Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl Tackle Joe Thomas Deserves a Trade and a Fresh Start

With the direction that the Cleveland Browns are taking, it just makes sense to let Joe Thomas have a chance to play for a winner.

What you are about to read is shocking.  The idea itself isn’t shocking. What’s shocking is that I am the one saying it.

The Browns need to trade Joe Thomas.

Let me first say that I have been against the idea of trading Thomas since the very first time such a ridiculous notion was whispered. When the rumors circulated last season that the Browns were considering trading Joe to Denver, I was furious.

Joe Thomas is ours. He is the only Hall of Fame caliber player the Browns have drafted in forever.  His weekend in Canton, Ohio will be the lone bright spot for Browns fans since Bernie Kosar was throwing to Webster Slaughter.

I selfishly wanted Joe Thomas to remain a Brown the rest of his career.

But as much as I like Joe Thomas, and would love for him to continue protecting the left side of whatever quarterback the Browns trot out to the huddle, recent events have made me reconsider my position.

While many fans and media alike are praising the Browns for a complete dismantling and rebuild, I cannot add my voice to that chorus. I’m all for jettisoning over-priced veterans like Bowe and Starks, but letting solid, young players entering their prime escape is just adding more holes to a team with plenty of them.

Karlos Dansby was an above average inside linebacker. Mitchell Schwartz brought stability to a position that the Browns struggled to fill for years. (Am I the only one that remembers the turnstiles that played right tackle for the Browns for several years?) Gipson. Mack. Benjamin. These are all now huge holes on the roster.

The Browns have decided to build through the draft. That’s a great idea in theory, but with the holes already on the roster (QB, WR, LB, DE etc.) adding several more positions (WR, FS, C, RT) means at least another year added on to the time this rebuild will take.

And that’s assuming the Browns hit on the majority of their draft picks.

I’d love to know why any fan has confidence that this front office will be successful at drafting impact players that the team can build around. What experience or proven track record do any of these guys have at drafting NFL players? Sashi Brown? Paul DePodesta? Are the Browns relying on the same scouts they have had for the last half-dozen drafts? How has that worked out?

The truth is, this rebuild looks like it is going to be long and painful. Losses will continue to mount. Will the Haslams have patience with this coaching staff? With the front office? Who knows.

While fans like myself have little choice (except to turn away from the team) a player like Joe Thomas shouldn’t have to suffer through it.

I don’t think Joe Thomas would ever come close to demanding a trade. At best, he may say he is open to one, but I don’t think he should have to.

Thomas has trade value. The Browns should be able to get something in return, likely a decent round draft pick. Will that pick replace Joe Thomas? No chance. It could give Joe a chance to play in the post-season. It would certainly give him a better chance to win than he has here.

Joe has earned the chance to start for a winning team. It is painfully obvious that won’t happen here. That’s why it is time to let Joe go.

We’ll see you in Canton Joe.

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