Browns LT Joe Thomas tells WKYC that he wants to be “part of the turnaround” in Cleveland, despite indicating that he could ask for a trade, depending on who they hired as head coach.
“Certainly I love the people in Cleveland. It’s my home. I love the city. I love everything about it. So I definitely want to be part of the turnaround,” Thomas said Saturday, via Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com.
According to Dave Chudowsky, Thomas called the hiring of Hue Jackson “pretty awesome.” Jackson is the Browns’ sixth coach since they drafted Thomas third overall in 2007.
Thomas previously left the door open to potentially asking for a trade out Cleveland.
“I was always wanting to be here and be part of the turnaround, but when there’s changes in the front office, changes in the coaching staff, they may not want me,” Thomas said. “They [may] want to go younger. It may be a situation where I don’t want to be here. I don’t know. There’s too many unknowns to really say one way or the other.”
Thomas explained that the older he gets, the harder it is to continue to be a part of a rebuild.
“The older you get the harder the changes are. They’re the hardest on the older guys,” Thomas said. “That’s always been my desire is to turn this team into a winner. That’s certainly still my goal, but it’s impossible to say what the future’s going to hold with a lot of potential changes looming.”
Thomas was the most notable name available ahead of this year’s trade deadline, and a deal was reportedly discussed with the Broncos. However, compensation was unable to be agreed upon.
Thomas, 30, has been a Hall-of-Fame caliber offensive tackle since the Browns drafted him. He still has another four years remaining on his eight-year, $92 million contract that included $44 million guaranteed.
Thomas stands to make base salaries of $8.8 million (2015), $8.3 million (2016), and $8.8 million (2017-2018).
This season, Thomas appeared in all 16 games for the Browns and is currently rated by Pro Football Focus as the No. 2 offensive tackle out of 75 qualifying players.