Joe Thomas believes the Cleveland Browns need to do a better job of holding onto young talent if they hope to get better.
"One of our biggest mistakes that we've made since I've been here is not identifying talent early on in their career, after you've drafted them, and re-signing them before they get to free agency," Thomas said.
The Browns lost Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz in free agency last offseason. Both players will play in the postseason.
"Once a guy gets to free agency, he could go anywhere, because all it takes is one team to really fall in love with somebody and throw a big number at them and then they're gone," Thomas said. "Now all that effort and energy that you've put into developing a young man into a great NFL player is gone, and that draft capital you spent on him is a waste.
"You sometimes hear fans say, 'Well we were 1-15 with them, we can be 1-15 without them.' But if you want to be better than 1-15 you have to keep your good players. That's just the way it goes. You can't keep getting rid of good players and think you're going to get better. Anybody with a brain can figure that out."