With the impending thought that quarterback Brady Quinn is going to hold out for the Browns, there is now concern that the teams other first round draft choice, no. 3 overall pick Joe Thomas, is going to be in for a holdout as well. Thomas, who is going to at some point be the teams starting left tackle, is going to be in the envious spot of sitting back and waiting what number one pick QB JaMarcus Russell gets from the Raiders, and what number two pick WR Calvin Johnson gets from Detroit.Browns GM Phil Savage told the Cleveland Plain Dealer in a phone interview that getting the number three pick to come to terms is no easy task. “The No. 3 spot has its travails as well [in terms of negotiations],” Browns General Manager Phil Savage told the paper. “The three previous No. 3 picks were Larry Fitzgerald [Cardinals receiver], Braylon Edwards [Browns receiver] and Vince Young [Titans quarterback], so it’s no great shake in the top five.”
While Thomas’ agent, Peter Schaffer wants to get his client into camp on time come July 23rd, you know full well he is going to make sure his high profile client gets a huge deal in the process. Something Savage knows all about. “It’s not a pretty picture in terms of trying to negotiate an offensive lineman versus a quarterback and two top-echelon receivers who were thought by many to be the top players in their draft,” said Savage. “As much of a great advantage it was to win the coin toss, we were also well aware of the contract situation at that spot.”
The Browns and Schaffer are going to talk quite a bit this summer, as he also represents the teams second round pick – cornerback Eric Wright. The Browns and Schaffer have spoken over the past three weeks about deals for both Thomas and Wright. “We have a lot of players on the team and I have a solid relationship with Phil and [Browns director of football administration] Trip MacCracken,” Schaffer said. “We’re focused on getting it done and we still have a month left. I don’t think anyone’s thinking of a holdout right now.”
Thomas is a key to the Browns rebuilding of the offensive line. Many Browns fans were excited when they took Thomas, as they realized that finally they were getting a player that was going to be able to protect the QB as well as open holes for running backs. Now, with an impending hold out coming, the honeymoon may be over real quick if Thomas doesn’t get into camp in a timely manner. And Thomas may find himself behind the 8-ball for the first part of the 2007 season.