The Denver Broncos may not be done wheeling and dealing in advance of Tuesday's NFL trade deadline. Even after acquiring tight end Vernon Davis from the San Francsico 49ers they've reached out to the Cleveland Browns to inquire about eight-time Pro bowl tackle Joe Thomas, according to CBS4 in Denver.
@VicLombardi with Sambrillo out, you think the Broncos approach the Browns about Joe Thomas??— Luis Ramirez (@LuisRam07) November 2, 2015
They already have https://t.co/z8tX0Zgx3i— Vic Lombardi (@VicLombardi) November 2, 2015
It's important to note that Lombardi later clarified this tweet. He's assuming the Broncos have contacted Cleveland, because who wouldn't?
Let's go ahead and analyze this potential trade all the same.
Why a trade makes sense
Thomas is known to be on the trade block, according to multiple reports that broke over the weekend, and would be a huge upgrade to the tandem of Ryan Harris and Tyler Polumbus the Broncos are currently employing. Thomas would even be an upgrade over franchise left tackle Ryan Clady, who is on Injured Reserve (Thomas would be an upgrade over virtually any tackle in the NFL).
Plus, we all know GM John Elway is an aggressive but smart head of football operations. He wouldn't shy from making another move if he felt it improved this football team.
This was John Elway’s face after being questioned if the Broncos would make another trade: "We’ll have to see." pic.twitter.com/daJyje0jIa— Sayre Bedinger (@SayreBedinger) November 3, 2015
Finally, the trade for Davis makes it pretty clear the Broncos are going "all in" on 2015. An upgrade at tackle would further improve their hand.
Why a trade doesn't make sense
It would be costly for the Broncos - perhaps prohibitively so. They have less than $5 million in cap room following the Davis trade, and Thomas' 2015 contract, even pro-rated, would be a that much or a bit more than that (I am not a caponomist, but I trust OverTheCap.com and can do arithmetic. I think). Thomas would then carry salaries between $9-10 million through the end of his contract in 2018.
Plus, the Broncos have invested a lot of money and a second round draft pick in their two left tackles on IR. Signing Thomas would almost certainly mean the end of Clady's tenure in Denver, but he's already guaranteed his 2015 salary due to the injury and can't be traded from IR.
Likelihood to happen
I'm going with 30%, which, to me, is a high number. I think it's more likely than not that the Broncos either stick with Harris and Polumbus or find more affordable help elsewhere, but who knows with John Elway? He'll always make sure the Broncos have the best-possible chance to win now without mortgaging the future.
The question then becomes: what do the Browns want for Thomas?