At a time when many believe the Browns are waiting for next year, some are waiting for the next shoe.
It’s clear that the Browns are willing to trade current players in order to improve in the future, exhibiting the kind of fire-sale mentality that the league’s fairly early trade deadline discourages.
But the Browns have five more weeks to make moves, and many are wondering who else could go.
On Friday’s edition of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN, Peter King of TheMMQB.com suggested that, if the Broncos struggle to replace left tackle Ryan Clady, a run could be made at Joe Thomas. (The Seahawks, who suddenly don’t have Russell Okung for at least eight weeks, could be interested, too.)
But that would be a very tough sell in Cleveland. With arguably the best offensive player already gone, trading arguably the best remaining offensive player could prompt a torches-and-pitchforks assault on the Factory of Sadness.
Receivers Josh Gordon and Greg Little could be available, if anyone wants them. The problem for the Browns is that, by trading one, they’ll have to trust the other. And they know they can’t trust either.
Other possible candidates to be traded out of Cleveland include quarterback Brandon Weeden (if/when he’s healthy and if Brian Hoyer or Jason Campbell step up), tackle Mitchell Schwartz, and defensive lineman Ahtyba Rubin.
Some players will be untouchable, starting with the players signed or drafted by the new regime. Cornerback Joe Haden, linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, and defensive tackle Phil Taylor are old-management hires who likely aren’t going anywhere soon.
Browns fans may not like it, but new ownership wants to build a consistent contender. If that happens, all those Browns fans who currently are complaining about the notion that the team is mailing it in for 2013 will soon be mailing in their checks for season tickets.