On what is shaping up to be a historic day in the history of the Cleveland Browns, the long struggling franchise — a team that has not appeared in the NFL playoffs since 2002, per Pro Football Reference — appears to be on the verge of acquiring not just one but two star players, adding six-time Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas to their earlier acquisition of New York Giants three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
The NFL website confirmed that the Browns added their “true Number One” receiver to go with second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield in 2019, when they traded “a first-round pick (No. 17 overall) the second of the Browns’ third-round picks (No. 95) and safety Jabrill Peppers” to the Giants for the 26-year-old Beckham, who caught 390 passes for 5,746 yards and 44 touchdowns paired with Eli Manning in five seasons with the Giants.
But according to one Twitter rumor, the Browns were working on a three-year offer to bring the former Seattle Seahawks safety Thomas to Cleveland as well. In fact, the site Pro Football Rumors, added that the Browns were “confident” that they would succeed in signing Thomas.
Thomas is said to be looking for a contact worth about $14 million per year, according to Sports Illustrated. SI adds that his price tag appears to be a major reason why the 29-year-old, who was Seattle’s first-round draft pick, 14th overall, in 2010, has found the market difficult as he seeks a free agent deal. Thomas was also a key player on the Seahawks Super Bowl winning defense in 2013, and the team that returned to the Super Bowl the following year only to lose a last-minute heartbreaker to the New England Patriots.
The Browns are in the market for a premier safety, with only Damarious Randall, Derrick Kindred, and Jermaine Whitehead filling that position in their current roster, Pro Football Rumors noted. Even New Orleans Saints and former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Des Bryant weighed in on the Thomas free agency via Twitter on Tuesday, saying, “I wouldn’t be surprised if Earl Thomas go to Cleveland.”
Following a winless season in 2017, the Browns drafted Mayfield with the top overall pick, and the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner helped lead the team to a seven wins, their most since 2014. But the addition of Beckham gives Mayfield his best target yet, while if Thomas joins the club he can only help a defense that ranked 21st in the NFL last year in points allowed, per PFR.