It feels like it was only yesterday that Wisconsin tackle Joe Thomas opted for fishing with his father over attending the 2007 NFL draft.
That day, the Browns reeled in the 312-pounder — and never looked back.
Thomas makes his 100th career start on Sunday against the Bengals. He’s never missed a game. Hell, he’s never missed a play.
His 6,054 consecutive snaps is the longest current streak in the NFL, and his six straight Pro Bowl berths trail only Jim Brown and Lou Groza, who each had nine in a row, on the franchise’s all-time list.
Thomas plays a low-profile position and keeps a low-profile, so we don’t hear much about him. Last week, we heard speculation that Thomas could be traded to a team like the Broncos, which has lost its starting left tackle for the season.
While the Browns have said they have “no intention” to make any other trades (and all that that possibly implies), it would be a very hard sell to move Thomas.
If anything, the Broncos could be inclined to make a run at right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, who was drafted last year by former Browns G.M. Tom Heckert. Orlando Franklin, who played left tackle and left guard at the University of Miami, could be shifted to the left side, and Schwartz could be installed on the right side.
It’s unclear whether the Browns could part with Schwartz, but it’s far more likely that they’d let him go instead of Thomas, who has been a quiet cornerstone for the Browns during otherwise underachieving times.