Sometimes, when you've been asked the same question 100 times, the best way to spell out a definite answer is a short, declarative sentence.
Joe Thomas, perhaps the most oft-mentioned name this trade season with a week left to go until the deadline, is apparently off the block. Thomas was famously almost traded to the Broncos a year ago before last-minute negotiations fell apart. Pro Football Talk reported on Monday that the Browns were looking for a second-round pick and that several teams were exploring the salary cap maneuvering that it would take to make the deal happen.
"Joe Thomas has a lot to do with what we're trying to accomplish here in the future," Jackson told reporters Monday. "So like you said there's a lot of reports and that's just what they are."
At 31, Thomas is signed through the 2018 season and is still one of the best left tackles in football. Based on his injury history - there is none - teams in the playoff hunt could be attracted to Thomas' potential this season and beyond. While some premiere left tackles make the transition into guard later in their careers, Thomas seems prepared to play the position at a high level for the long haul.
The Browns' interest in Thomas is obvious. Should the team continue to break in third-round pick Cody Kessler or use one of their first-round picks in the 2017 draft to select the quarterback of the future, having a steady presence at left tackle is paramount. While the rest of the offensive line struggles, the team can at least rest assured knowing that the traditional blind side is in the hands of a capable veteran who is eager to dispense advice and understands the peaks and valleys of playing in Cleveland.