The Cleveland Browns wanted to pull off a deadline deal involving the acquisition of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback A.J. McCarron and, in some ways, that makes sense. After all, the Browns have been rudderless at the position for some time and there is increased heat on the organization in the aftermath of passing on both Eagles QB Carson Wentz and Texans QB Deshaun Watson in the NFL Draft.
Now, though, we have full details on the botched effort to trade for McCarron and they are jarring. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com brings word that the Browns simply fell short of their obligation to inform the league of the deal. While the Bengals let the league know that the deal was complete, the Browns well, did not and it came in strange form because Browns Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown was not the one that directly forwarded communication, rather using Browns director of football administration Chris Cooper as the proxy.
From there, it gets weirder.
After Brown and Tobin agreed on the compensation — and event that took place somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes before the deadline, the Bengals were of the understanding that both parties were hanging up and getting the paperwork emailed to the league.
The Bengals quickly sent the necessary documents to the NFL — and copied the Browns — but the Browns only sent theirs to the Bengals and not to the NFL.
A source with knowledge of the Browns’ sequence of events told cleveland.com that they sent their signed document to the Bengals with the expectation that the Bengals would also sign it and forward it on to the league.
A source also told cleveland.com that if the Browns had simply copied the NFL on the document they sent to the Bengals, the trade would have gone through.
The report also indicates “that a person in the NFL office told him that the two parties involved in a trade always call the NFL to confirm that everything was received and that it’s all systems go” which never happened on the Browns end. The report goes into further, sourced detail on just how wild it is for Cleveland to not hold up its end of the bargain in a move like this and, in short, it does not paint the Browns organization in the best light.
The Browns are the Browns and stuff like this isn’t going to help the franchise’s league-wide reputation.