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ESPN suggests Colts should trade for Browns left tackle Joe Thomas

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ESPN's Mike Sando recently wrote an article about draft trades that should happen, and one of them he mentioned was that the Colts should trade a second round pick for Browns left tackle Joe Thomas.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Around this time of year, there are plenty of suggested trades that teams should make.  There always does seem to be several draft day trades each year, and many analysts try to come up with some trades that make sense for teams to make - sometimes they do make sense, and other times they don't.

That's exactly what ESPN's Mike Sando recently attempted to do, however, as he wrote an In$ider piece listing seven trades he thinks should happen.  For the Indianapolis Colts, he suggested they should send a second round pick in this year's draft to the Cleveland Browns for left tackle Joe Thomas.

The Browns are subtracting expensive older talent as part of a plan to rebuild their roster through the next few drafts. Thomas is the last man standing at this point. The Colts could use a cornerstone left tackle as they try to win now (no more lacerated kidneys for quarterback Andrew Luck, please).

This deal would make the most sense from a timing standpoint once the first round of the draft passed. The Browns will know by then whether they can get a first-round choice in return for Thomas. The Colts will know by then whether they found an offensive lineman to their liking in the first round. There's some thought Indy could be conservative in this draft after misfiring in the recent past. Could there be a second-round pick in the draft safer than Thomas, who has been a perennial All-Pro selection?

To begin with, there's no denying that Joe Thomas is one of the very best and most consistent offensive linemen in football.  He has never missed a game since being drafted third overall in 2007, starting 144 games in a row.  Furthermore, he has made the Pro Bowl in each of his nine seasons, while also being named a first-team All-Pro six times.  That's as good of a resume as there is, and Thomas backs it up with his play.  He's 31 years old, but he's still at the top of his game.

This trade doesn't make a ton of sense for either side, however.  For the Browns, it would be surprising to see them trade their best player for just a second round pick.  Last year, the Denver Broncos were close to acquiring him and a fourth round pick in a trade - for a first and second round pick.  According to ESPN, however, the deal stalled because the Browns also wanted to add a third round pick, taking Denver's top three picks for Thomas.  So, in other words, it sounds like last year the Browns were asking for two first round picks for Thomas, and then had a potential offer of a first and second round pick but didn't take it because they wanted more.  So to suggest that the Colts would be able to get him for just a second round pick is probably unrealistic, despite the new management for the Browns.

From the Colts' perspective, they do have a left tackle they really like in Anthony Castonzo.  Sando notes that the Colts need a "cornerstone left tackle" without a single mention of Castonzo in his article, which seems to me like shortsighted analysis that we've seen all-too-often from national folks: "the Colts need an offensive lineman, so that means they obviously don't have any already so they could grab any lineman."  Now, if the Colts could acquire a guy like Joe Thomas for just a second round pick, they could potentially move Anthony Castonzo to right tackle, but that's just not likely to happen.  Last year, the Colts gave Castonzo a four-year deal worth nearly $44 million, big-enough money to make a statement that they really do like their left tackle.  Sando makes no mention of Castonzo or this fact, but it's a subject one must address when trying to reason that the Colts should trade for Joe Thomas.

So ultimately, despite the fact that Joe Thomas is one of the very best offensive linemen in the NFL, the trade doesn't make sense for either side.  For the Browns, they likely want and could get more than just a second round pick, and for the Colts, they like Anthony Castonzo at left tackle and would have to figure out the plan with him and potentially moving him to the right side.  It's a nice trade to suggest in a trade article, but in reality it's unlikely to happen and doesn't make a ton of sense.