The Cleveland Browns almost did the unthinkable -- trading LT Joe Thomas, a future Hall of Famer who has never missed a single snap -- to the Denver Broncos. We were waiting for the news all day, believing that surely, the Browns would not sell on such an elite player, especially after the terrible usage of first-round picks the team has had over the years.
With the deadline looming at 4:00 PM ET on Tuesday, at 3:51 PM ET, Adam Schefter of ESPN tweeted the following:
Broncos racing to rework contracts to create cap room at last minute...oh boy....— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 3, 2015
That instantly rose the alert level for Cleveland fans, especially because head coach Mike Pettine was scheduled to speak with the media at 3:30 PM ET, but was late for his press conference. Then, at 3:59 PM ET, Dianna Russini of ESPN reported the following:
Browns & Broncos rushing to beat the NFL trade deadline that will send LT Joe Thomas & a 4th pick in '16 to Denver for a 1st/2nd in '16— Dianna Marie Russini (@diannaESPN) November 3, 2015
That's when panic ensued, including myself. I looked at the clock and shouted, "please god, let the deadline pass!" At 4:03 PM ET, Pettine emerged to the podium. As I braced for the doom-and-gloom news, Pettine said that it was his understanding that no moves were made. How do you not know definitively?
Schefter then tweeted at 4:07 PM ET that a deal didn't get done in time:
A potential Joe-Thomas-to-Denver deal that both sides were working on up until the deadline did not get completed, per league sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 3, 2015
At 4:09 PM ET, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network said that it wasn't a matter of time, but of compensation. It's not clear if the Browns wanted more from the Broncos than what Russini tweeted earlier, or if the Broncos thought that was too steep:
As far as we know, Thomas is still safe and will remain a member of the Browns moving forward. Whew -- bullet dodged!