Cleveland Browns legendary offensive lineman Joe Thomas is set to be enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Thomas forged his career with the Browns, the team that drafted him with the third overall selection in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft, despite never appearing in a single postseason game.
Thomas never demanded to be traded, saying recently that he grew up as a fan valuing players who stayed loyal to their franchises. But he wasn’t without many suitors during numerous NFL trade deadlines.
Back in 2015, the Browns almost dealt him to the Denver Broncos, who had recently signed quarterback Peyton Manning and were widely viewed as Super Bowl contenders.
When that trade fell through, Manning wanted Thomas to take revenge on Ray Farmer, then the Browns’ general manager.
The advice that Peyton Manning gave incoming Hall-of-Fame OT Joe Thomas about how to force a trade to Denver from Cleveland:
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 3, 2023
“It was like, ‘Hey, Joe, I think you should go up to your GM’s office and make a stink. Literally, I want you to go up there, pull your pants down and make a stink on his desk because that’s the only way Cleveland is going to trade you,’” Thomas told ESPN’s NFL insider, Adam Schefter.
“It actually happened right before the trade deadline,” Thomas said. “So, this would’ve been October during that season because Ryan Clady was their All-Pro left tackle – he’d been injured. I think he tore his patellar tendon or his Achilles, so they were looking for a replacement because, obviously, they had a roster that went on to win the Super Bowl. But they were like, ‘Hey, Peyton, you’re not exactly a spring chicken anymore, so we need somebody that’s really solid that can block on your blindside.’”
Thomas explained that the Browns didn’t trade him because of his standing with the fanbase as the longest-tenured member of the franchise at that point.
“I think there was potentially a lot more downside of trading me since I was the longest-tenured member and had a fair amount of popularity within the Browns fan base,” Thomas told Schefter. “Even though I think the draft compensation was fair, there was some trepidation about making that deal and being that one that sent me out of town.”
The Browns went on to finish that season at 3-13 while the Broncos won the Super Bowl without Thomas’ services.