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The Cleveland Browns’ front office failed to include the NFL in any communications with the Cincinnati Bengals about a proposed deal for quarterback AJ McCarron before Tuesday’s trade deadline, which caused the agreement to fall through.
On Wednesday, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported Chris Cooper, the Browns’ director of football administration, sent a signed document to the Bengals at 3:54 p.m.—six minutes before the deadline—but Cincinnati didn’t see it in time and sent its own paperwork to the league. If he included the NFL in the email, the trade would have been completed on time.
The miscommunication appeared to stem from the fact Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown and Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin were working on the trade, so Cincinnati wasn’t expecting an email to come from Cooper, per Cabot.
In addition, the report noted the Browns expected the Bengals to sign Cleveland’s document and send it to the league, to which another NFL executive told Cleveland.com: “It would be crazy for the Browns to expect the Bengals to send the Browns’ paperwork to the NFL. They know they have to notify the league themselves.”
Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported the Browns were prepared to send second- and third-round picks in the 2018 draft for the Bengals’ backup quarterback.
It represented a high price for McCarron, who’s made three career regular-season starts while spending most of his time behind Andy Dalton on the depth chart.
The 27-year-old University of Alabama product completed 66.4 percent of his throws with six touchdowns and two interceptions in seven games during the 2015 season. He also made a playoff start that year, throwing for 212 yards with one TD and one interception in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
After the failed trade, the Browns will move forward with the trio of DeShone Kizer, Kevin Hogan and Cody Kessler under center. They have combined for a league-worst 56.1 pbader rating through eight weeks. The next lowest is the San Francisco 49ers at 71.0.
The silver lining for Cleveland is its 0-8 starts puts it in position to select a QB high in the 2018 draft.