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Joe Thomas reportedly asked Browns to explore trade options

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Reports that Thomas asked the Browns to explore a potential trade fly in the face of his comments that he was shocked to learn that a trade almost occurred.

Joe Thomas has been adamant publicly that he wants to stay with the Cleveland Browns, but according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, he helped facilitate a near trade to the Denver Broncos, which fell apart just before the trade deadline.

Per Rapoport, Thomas asked the Browns to see what trade options were available which nearly resulted in the offensive tackle getting sent to Denver. After learning that a deal was in the works, Thomas reportedly asked for more guaranteed money in 2016 and 2017 so he could secure his future with the Broncos, but the team balked at his requests, causing the trade to fall apart.

The report flies in the face of comments Thomas made after the deal fell apart.

"Certainly I would have been really crushed being traded and leaving all these guys that you work so hard with and all these coaches and the people that are in this building and these fans," Thomas told Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Thursday." It wasn't until after the deadline that I realized that it was more serious than maybe just a rumor. At that point it was like, 'Oh, interesting.'"

Unsurprisingly, Thomas' agent disputed Rapoport's report telling Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer that a new contract with the Broncos was never discussed and that the report was a complete fabrication.

Thomas, 30, has played his entire career with the Browns since he was picked with the No. 3 selection in the 2007 NFL Draft. He has never missed an offensive snap in 137 career games and has earned a Pro Bowl nod in every season of his career.

Just a few days before the trade deadline, Thomas told reporters that he's "not a quitter" and was hopeful he wouldn't be traded. Via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

"The reality of it is we're right now a 2-6 team and the trade deadline is coming up,'' said Thomas. "If you're a team that doesn't have a winning record I imagine it happens all the time where teams will call up your team and find out if you're available for a trade. It's happened in the past with me in my career. But it's out of my control. I want to be here. I want to finish my career here. I want to be part of the turnaround here. That's the way it is sometimes, you've got to control the things you can control.''

According to Mike Klis of 9News in Colorado, the Broncos offered a 2017 first-round pick and a swap of 2016 second-day picks for Thomas. While the Broncos were willing to give up the team's 2016 second-round pick in exchange for a third-round pick, the Browns were only willing to chip in a fifth-round pick, according to Klis.

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