But according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, he asked the franchise to poke around as the trade deadline approached last week.
The latter tweet was obviously the reason the deal fell apart. It seems as though the Broncos were comfortable giving up a first-round and mid-round pick for Thomas, but the possibility of stuffing their salary cap to the brim was too much to handle. From John Elway's perspective, there's no question this was still tempting. Thomas is one of the best offensive linemen in football and would still likely perform at a high level through the next two seasons. There would not be a first-round pick available where Denver is picking this April who would replace that level of production.
Alas, Thomas is back in Cleveland where he's probably more comfortable anyway. Though it is a great tragedy that the Browns, in all of their various regimes over the last nine years, have largely squandered Thomas' talent, it's a huge benefit for Mike Pettine to have Thomas moving forward.