No one has suffered more losing, more graciously, than Joe Thomas.
So when the Browns gave him a bump in future pay after his season-ending triceps injury, he said he thinks it sends a positive message for the future of the team.
The Browns had been talking about adjusting his deal before the injury, but tacked on an extra $3 million even though he won’t play another down for them this year.
“It’s just the way that the team shows their love and appreciation for you. In the NFL, how do you show love and appreciation for what your players are doing? You pay them,” Thomas said, via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “The conversation came up about two years ago actually. So they’ve been talking about giving me a market adjustment for my contract since I did sign it so long ago [in 2011] and since I’ve tried to go about my business as well as I possibly can, representing the organization, playing as well as I can, trying to be a team player, and they felt a market adjustment was not only good for me, of course, but good for them, good for their business, because when you reward players when you don’t have to, that sends a message to the locker room that says, “If you do the right things and you put yourself on the line for this team, we’ll reward you, even if you’re under contract.
“Because in the NFL, it’s a one-sided contract. When the team is ready to get rid of you, they just cut you if you’re not playing up to your contract. If you’re outplaying your contract, your only possibility of getting your raise or a market value adjustment is to either make a huge stink, demand a trade or hold out.
“I told them that’s not the type of person I am. So I think they realized it’s the right thing to do, and it sends a good message going forward to the rest of the players in the locker room.”
Of course, the Browns haven’t shown an ability to put enough people in that locker room to match Thomas’ level of consistent excellence, and continue to trip over their own feet. Last week’s bungled attempt to trade for A.J. McCarron was just the latest example, but Thomas has been around long enough to know what will make it better.
“In the NFL, winning cures all, and when you lose, it makes everything worse, and it magnifies all the little things that go on in every building,” Thomas said. “But you only make a big deal about it when the losing is attached to it. For us, it’s just a matter of turning things around and start getting some W’s. I don’t think it’s necessarily any big issue or any different than any other NFL front office. It’s just a matter of getting those wins.”
Thomas is a good solider, because the Browns have proven that their front office is different than many other front offices. But at least they recognized the goodwill potential of rewarding Thomas, and keeping him on their good side.