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Browns, Bengals miss deadline to execute trade for QB A.J. McCarron

Cleveland did a mix of dodging a bullet, being an embarrassment, and probably pissing off a fellow NFL organization all at the same time.

Wild Card Round - Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

I think I’m at a loss for words on this one for multiple reasons: the player being acquired and the compensation proposed, and what sounds like incompetency on the part of the Cleveland Browns all parties.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Browns “tried, but failed, to complete a trade before the deadline” that would have seen them acquire Cincinnati Bengals quarterback A.J. McCarron.

So, what happened? Did the Browns get cold feet? No. Schefter indicates that the Bengals had their paperwork turned in to the NFL on time, but the Browns were moments past the firm 4:00 PM deadline. Cleveland felt there should be a brief grace period and requested an exception, but the NFL said “no.”

Jim Owczarski of reported that the trade agreement would have had Cleveland send a second- and third-round pick in 2018 to the Bengals in exchange for McCarron. In other words, the Browns were poised to give up more for McCarron than the 49ers gave up for Jimmy Garoppolo (though it’s not clear which second-rounder would have been involved in the deal).

UPDATE (7:30 PM): Per multiple reports, likely stemming from the Browns doing damage control, they are pinning the blame on the Bengals. Cleveland says they sent a signed document to the Bengals, which Cincinnati was supposed to sign and then finalize with the NFL. Cincinnati, though, sent the wrong document to the NFL — one with only their signature on it.

If all of that wasn’t enough, who would have been excited about the Browns acquiring McCarron? I agree that this team desperately needs a quarterback of the future, but with all due respect to McCarron, I believe he’s a quarterback with a very low ceiling.