With the annual NFL Draft on the horizon, it brings to mind some maneuvering that paid huge dividends for all involved, while others just didn't pan out for any teams or the players who were traded.
The Browns sent their fourth-round pick last year to the Steelers for their third-rounder selection this year. The Steelers used that fourth-round spot, No. 111 overall, to take Syracuse safety Shamarko Thomas. It remains to be seen what the Browns get this year, but the Steelers certainly are thrilled to have Thomas. Sure, he had an uneven rookie season, but his future appears to be bright.
Just ask Steelers veteran cornerback Ike Taylor.
"We call him headache, because that's what he gives receivers when he hits them,'' Taylor said. "He's going to be a real good player for us in the future.''
The New York Giants traded up to pick No. 110, one ahead of the Browns, to select Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib. Cleveland then traded its pick to Pittsburgh. It's not that the Browns wanted to get Nassib there, but they believed an additional pick this year was a better option and made several other moves last year with draft picks.
The last time the Steelers and Browns were involved in a transaction together was May 14, 1968, when the Steelers sent quarterback Bill Nelson to the "Mistake By The Lake.'' In return, the Steelers got quarterback Dick Shiner, defensive tackle Frank Parker and a draft pick. Nelson ended up playing five seasons for each team.
Shiner played just one season for the Browns (1967) and two with the Steelers (1968-69). He was drafted by the Washington Redskins in 1964 and spent three seasons in the nation's capitol before moving on to Cleveland. Shiner played for the New York Giants in 1970, the Atlanta Falcons from 1971-73 and New England Patriots from 1973-74.
Parker played just one season for the Steelers after five with the Browns. His final season was 1969 with the Giants.
It's a good bet that Thomas will last longer with the Steelers than all of those other guys. The team might pick up a veteran safety in free agency this year, but that won't mean they're displeased with Thomas. It can only make the Steelers deeper in the secondary, and that's never a bad idea.