CLEVELAND — A trade with the New York Giants for Pro Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was not the only bit of work Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey was up to during the final hours of the legal tampering period before the start of the new league year tomorrow.
After dealing safety Jabrill Peppers to the Giants in the deal for Beckham Jr., the Browns reportedly began talks with soon-to-be free-agent defensive back Earl Thomas. According to Adam Silverstein, the Browns and Thomas are working on a three-year deal to bring him to Cleveland.
In 125 games, all starts, over his nine seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, Thomas registered 684 total tackles, including 479 solo stops and 205 assists, with 11 tackles going for lost yardage. Additionally, Thomas defended 67 passes, forced 11 fumbles, recovered another five, one of which for a score, and collected 28 interceptions, which he returned for 417 yards and two touchdowns.
The 29-year old Thomas made six Pro Bowl appearances (2011-2015, 2017) and was a three-time First-Team All-Pro selection from 2012 to 2014.
Thomas started the first 96 games of his career and played in at least 14 outings in seven of his nine seasons in Seattle, but his final moment in a Seahawks uniform was a sore one.
In a Week 4 game against the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, Arizona, Thomas suffered a season-ending lower left leg fracture. Already upset with the Seahawks over a contract dispute, Thomas tossed an obscene gesture toward the Seattle sideline as the cart drove him off the field and to the locker room.
Should the Browns be successful in bringing Thomas to Cleveland, he would join a talented secondary.
The No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft out of The Ohio State University, cornerback Denzel Ward ranked tied for second in interceptions and passes defended, tied for ninth in forced fumbles and tied for first with two fumble recoveries among first-year players.
In 13 games with the Browns last season, Ward registered 53 total tackles, 41 solo stops and 12 assists along with three interceptions, which he returned for 26 yards, 11 passes defended, one forced fumble and two recoveries.
A two-time Pepsi Rookie of the Week (Weeks 1 and 5) and one-time AFC Special Teams Player of the Week (Week 5), Ward was among the AFC leaders with three interceptions.
Along with Ward, the Browns have versatile safety Damarious Randall manning the back end of the defense.
In 15 games for the Browns in 2018, Randall set career nights with 85 total tackles, 72 solo stops and 13 assists, to go along with nine passes defended and matched his previous single-season high with four interceptions.
During his four-year career, Randall has registered 229 total tackles, 198 solo stops, 31 assists, 41 passes defended and 14 interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.