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.
Bengals and Browns actually agreed to AJ McCarron trade at 3:55 pm, per source involved. Bengals approved trade to NFL, Browns did not.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 31, 2017
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.”
NFL rejected Browns request to overturn AJ McCarron trade. Even though Browns’ notification of trade arrived moments too late, NFL said no.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 31, 2017
Jim Owczarski of Cincinnati.com 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.