NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport told NFL Network that the sides couldn't work out a swap for Cleveland's Pro Bowl left tackle, Joe Thomas, largely because the Browns were asking for too much.
"It's not that they (ran) out of time moving up to the deadline, it's just that they couldn't agree on compensation," Rapoport said. "The Browns were asking for a very steep price, more than a first-rounder for a potential Joe Thomas deal, and that simply was not going to happen. So that is why he's remaining a member of the Cleveland Browns."
In addition, a holdup on converting Thomas' remaining salary for 2016 and '17 into guarantees also prevented the trade from getting done, a source involved with the process told Rapoport.
The trade would have made sense for Denver. The undefeated Broncos need help at left tackle with Ryan Clady and Ty Sambrailo both lost for the year on injured reserve. The move also would have allowed Thomas to play for a winner, but the loyal bookend stated Monday that he had no desire to leave the team that drafted him in 2007, saying: "I'm not a quitter."
"The trading deadline creates a lot of controversy and a lot scuttlebutt that generally results in nothing," Browns general manager Ray Farmer told reporters just minutes after the deadline, adding: "We had some conversations and, at the end of the day, they all resulted in the same thing -- nothing."
Still, the trade whispers don't help a struggling two-win team looking for signs of hope, with coach Mike Pettine saying of the gossip: "It's the equivalent of throwing a grenade in the locker room."
Farmer said the Browns "didn't actively go out and try to move anybody," insisting that "there was no shopping from my perspective," despite Rapoport noting that Pro Bowl center Alex Mack and pass rushers Barkevious Mingo and Paul Kruger were all on the block.
Credit Broncos general manager John Elway with aggressively swinging for the fences to patch up Denver's line -- but also for refusing to mortgage the future when the asking price shot into the heavens.