The Cleveland Browns said strongly at the NFL league meetings this week that the team has no plans to trade left tackle Joe Thomas, a player some thought the Seahawks might target if he became available.
BOCA RATON, Fla. — If any Seahawks’ fans are holding on to the lingering hope that Cleveland might trade left tackle Joe Thomas — and that Seattle might be able to get him — Browns’ coach Hue Jackson says to forget it.
Speaking to reporters at the NFL league meetings Tuesday morning in Boca Raton, Fla., Jackson — Cleveland’s first-year head coach — says the team intends to hang on to Thomas, a 31-year-old 10-year vet regarded as one of the best left tackles in football.
“Everybody wants to know if we’re trading him,’’ Jackson said, referencing rumors that he rebuilding Browns might want to unload Thomas given his hefty contract (cap hits of $9.5 million or $10 million the next three seasons) and advancing age. “Joe’s not going anywhere.
“That’s one of the quarterback’s best friends, a great left tackle, especially if he’s right-handed. So I feel good about Joe and what Joe means to our organization and what he’s done. He’s one of the best left tackles in football. I don’t think I’d be doing us a good service by making sure that he’s gone. We need him here.’’
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Those comments echoed what Browns’ new vice president of football operations Sashi Brown had told reporters here the day before telling Cleveland reporters: “That’s not our plan at all. I know it’s been written about a lot. But that’s as simple as I can say it.”
That the Seahawks have a left tackle position that appears still somewhat uncertain has led to conjecture that Seattle might be among the teams interested in trading for Thomas if he were to become available. But if the Browns’ brass strong words here can be believed, that isn’t going to happen.
The Seahawks lost their last tackle of the last six years, Russell Okung, when he signed last week with the Denver Broncos.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll will hold his media session here on Wednesday.