Given the Broncos’ porous offensive line play, the team should again attempt to trade for Joe Thomas.
Of all the contending teams in the NFL, none have arguably looked as bad in recent weeks as the Denver Broncos.
Much of their struggles can be traced back to poor offensive line play, as the unit is largely responsible for the Broncos back-to-back losses. They’ve given up eight sacks in two weeks, have failed to open up holes in the running game, and are consistently committing crushing penalties in crucial moments.
It’s clear that general manager John Elway has to make some sort of change if Denver wants to remain in the hunt for the Lombardi Trophy.
That change should start and end with Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas.
If you’ll recall, the Broncos nearly landed Thomas last year before trade talks fell apart.
It’s time for Elway to close the deal this season.
At the ripe age of 31, Thomas is still one of, if not the best left tackle in the game today. The 6x-First-Team All-Pro continues to stand out, as he’s the only player on the Browns’ O-line with a grade above that of average, according to Pro Football Focus.
His asking price is obviously pretty steep, but it’d be more than worth it for Elway if it means keeping his team in contention status.
At the moment, Russell Okung starts at left tackle and has been serviceable for the Broncos. NFL Mocks and Predominantly Orange editor Sayre Bedinger provided some great insight as to how Thomas could fit in on Denver’s offensive line.
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"“There’s no question in my mind that Joe Thomas or Russell Okung would give the Broncos an upgrade at the right tackle position. If Thomas is the better left tackle, put him there. If he can slide over to right tackle, even better.”"
In regards to what’d become of Donald Stephenson, Bedinger offered a realistic, beneficial option for the starting right tackle.
"“The Broncos don’t have anything solidified on the offensive line, obviously, so kicking Donald Stephenson inside shouldn’t be a big deal either. The thought here is that you invest in a guy like Joe Thomas so that nothing — nothing — comes around the edge to get to your quarterback. Stephenson could be an upgrade on the interior at either right or left guard.”"
At the end of the day, there’s not a whole lot to not like about the possibility of adding the longtime Brown. Not only would Thomas come at a decent price – about $10 million in guaranteed money per season – but he fills an immediate need and serves as a long-term solution at tackle.
With so few options to turn to at this point, Thomas is essentially Elway’s get-out-of-jail-free card. He might regret not using it should the team fall short of the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl.