SUNDAY, 8:20am: Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds, in a series of Twitter links, a little more context to the deal that nearly sent Thomas to the Broncos. Our Zach Links wrote a few hours after the trade deadline passed that the deal broke down, at least in part, over a holdup on converting Thomas’ remaining salary for 2016 and 2017 into guarantees. Rapoport reiterated that report this morning, noting that the trade fell apart when the Broncos would not guarantee as much as Thomas wanted.
Furthemore, Rapoport says that although Thomas certainly does have strong feelings for the Browns, he did ask Cleveland to explore potential trades prior to the deadline. As Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com writes, that news, along with the report that the trade did not happen because of Thomas’ push for guaranteed money in 2016 and 2017, does not mesh with Thomas’ recent statement that he would have been crushed and surprised if the deal had been consummated. Although Thomas may release another statement in light of these reports, the fact remains that he is still a Brown and is under contract through 2018. He is due to make $8.3MM, $8.8MM, and $8.8MM over the next three seasons, respectively.
MONDAY, 3:20pm: Troy Renck of the Denver Post and Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter links) both dismiss the idea that the Broncos didn’t finalize a deal because they ran out of time or didn’t have the cap space, suggesting it was the Browns’ asking price that made Denver balk.
Russini adds (via Twitter) that the Broncos were offering a fifth-round pick and the Browns wanted a third-round pick, though it’s not clear how those selections fit into her previous report (noted below). According to Klis (via Twitter), the Browns wanted a first-rounder and at least one other early-round pick, which was too rich for the Broncos.
MONDAY, 3:07pm: Moments before today’s 3:00pm CT trade deadline, the Broncos were “racing” to restructure contracts in order to create the necessary cap room to accommodate a trade-deadline addition, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). However, it appears that deal fell through, or the team simply ran out of time.
According to Dianna Marie Russini of ESPN.com (Twitter links), the proposed trade would have sent Browns left tackle Joe Thomas and a fourth-round 2016 pick to Denver in exchange for the Broncos’ first- and second-round picks in 2016. Russini suggests that it’s not clear whether the two sides were in agreement on that proposal before the deadline — it sounds as if it was close, but couldn’t get finalized before the deadline.
Cleveland head coach Mike Pettine confirmed to reporters moments ago the Browns didn’t make any trades (Twitter link via Albert Breer of the NFL Network).
The Browns were reportedly considering deals for several of their veteran players in advance of today’s deadline, including Thomas, Alex Mack, Paul Kruger, and Barkevious Mingo. A report this afternoon indicated that the team wasn’t likely to complete a major trade, so perhaps the Broncos made an unexpected last-minute push to try to land Thomas.
This wasn’t the first time the two teams had discussed a potential Thomas trade, with at least one report this morning suggesting that Denver offered a first-round pick for the standout tackle earlier in the season. With both Ryan Clady and Ty Sambrailo out for the year, the Broncos could have used a stalwart lineman like Thomas to protect Peyton Manning‘s blind side the rest of the way, but the Browns’ asking price was steep.