BOCA RATON, Fla. — Bad news for any Giants fans (or front-office members) who were hoping to acquire left tackle Joe Thomas in a trade from the gutted Cleveland Browns: Their new coach seems pretty attached to the one valuable asset who remains.
“We have the best left tackle in football,” Hue Jackson said of Thomas. “Where’s he going?”
There had been speculation that Thomas could be going to another team hungry for offensive line talent. The Giants certainly would fit that description after showing interest in veterans such as Russell Okung and Donald Penn during this free-agency period.
“That’s just talk,” Jackson said of the conjecture.
The Giants already seem to have a left tackle in Ereck Flowers, and his presence there likely made them a less appealing destination for Okung and Penn, two career-long left tackles who might have been asked to move to the right side.
Giants coach Ben McAdoo told Newsday this week that while he is excited to see the development of Flowers at left tackle, Flowers is not “written in stone” at the position. Thomas, a nine-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro, would be a very good reason to keep the engravers at bay when it comes to Flowers’ position.
Not that Thomas is going anywhere. At least according to the Browns’ statements this week. Jackson was simply reiterating the words of new vice president of football operations Sashi Brown, who spoke to Cleveland reporters on Monday. “Our plan is not to trade Joe Thomas,” Brown said. “He’ll be our left tackle.”
Jackson said a great left tackle is “a quarterback’s best friend.” And while the Browns do not yet have a quarterback, they want to make whoever steps into the role as comfortable as possible.
“I feel good about Joe, and what Joe means to our organization, and what he’s done,” Jackson said. “He’s one of the best left tackles in football. I don’t think I’d be doing us a good service by making sure that he’s gone. We need him here.”