Within the next week, the Cleveland Browns will know whether or not they need to replace one of the best offensive linemen of all time. Left tackle Joe Thomas has been considering retirement this offseason, and on Tuesday night he told Jason Gibbs of ESPN Cleveland that he will try to make his decision on whether or not he will return to Cleveland for the 2018 season prior to the start of free agency. 

Per ESPN.com, Thomas confirmed that he has taken broadcasting auditions with FOX and ESPN. 

"I'm kind of just exploring those options," Thomas said. "I think it's always good to put yourself in front of those decision-makers and get practice at doing some of that stuff and kind of see if you like it. Whether I decide to retire or not, I think the end of my career is coming sooner than later. And it's good to kind of figure out a little bit where that career might head after your football days are done."

Thomas is now 33 years old and coming off an arm injury he suffered in late October that knocked him out for the remainder of the 2017 season, snapping his incredible streak of 10,363 consecutive snaps played. He had never missed a single snap in his entire career since being selected with the No. 3 overall pick by the Browns back in 2007. The injury meant that for the first time in his NFL career, Thomas did not make the Pro Bowl. He's one of just five players in league history to be selected as a Pro Bowler in each of his first 10 seasons. 

It seems fairly safe to say that drafting Thomas is just about the only thing the Browns have done right since their return to the league in 1999. If he were to retire, it would truly be a devastating blow for a team that still has a lot of holes to fill as it attempts to rebuild for the umpteenth time. The Browns have a ton of draft capital and more cap space than any team in the NFL, but losing a pencil-him-in Pro Bowler at the offensive line's most important position would set them back significantly as new GM John Dorsey attempts to remake the roster in his vision.