3 blockbuster trades the Denver Broncos almost made, but didn’t
3. Peyton Manning tried to convince OT Joe Thomas to force a trade to the Denver Broncos
During the 2015 NFL season, the Denver Broncos were one of the best defenses in the league and simultaneously one of the luckiest teams in the NFL. The Broncos were masters of winning close games in 2015, but the offense was not good.
Peyton Manning was both playing hurt and not looking like his usual self. The offense sputtered but the team kept on winning. John Elway was cut from the Mike Shanahan cloth of aggressiveness when it comes to upgrading the roster and making deals, so the Broncos were frequently a team that popped up in trade rumors every year, whether we are talking about the offseason or during the season.
Although blockbuster deals at the NFL trade deadline during the season are rare, there was significant steam building in the 2015 season for the hapless Cleveland Browns to potentially be willing to trade All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas for the right price. Of course, every Denver Broncos fan wanted that to happen as the offensive line had gone through injuries and bouts of terrible play.
The Browns were asking a lot for Thomas, but frankly, there probably wasn’t a price the Broncos would have scoffed at during that time. They needed offensive line help badly, and for someone of Thomas’ caliber to even be the subject of trade talks? Well, that was exciting.
As Thomas himself recalls, it was Peyton Manning who called him during the season and tried to convince him to force a trade out of Cleveland, even if slightly in jest…
Although Thomas states he was happy in Cleveland, where he finished his NFL career, he potentially missed a chance to win a Super Bowl in Denver by not finishing his career in orange and blue. If nothing else, he got a great story out of it.
Who knows how different things would have been for Denver had they been able to pull off that trade for Thomas. It would have likely cost the Broncos their 2016 first-round pick (and then some) which was eventually spent on Paxton Lynch. Maybe the Broncos would have waited to draft a quarterback until later in 2016 and taken Dak Prescott, or perhaps they would have waited until 2017 and taken a certain gunslinger out of Texas Tech.
We’ll never know.
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At the end of the day, the Broncos did win the Super Bowl that year, so it’s hard to complain too much.