We’re not sure how many more times it can be said, but: We’re sorry, Browns fans.
Via ESPN’s Adam Schefter and ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi, the Browns had a deal in place with the Cincinnati Bengals to get Bengals backup quarterback A.J. McCarron.
Bengals and Browns thought they beat the clock on AJ McCarron trade. Clock beat them. Close but no deal.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 31, 2017
But Cleveland brass were too busy celebrating completing the trade or simply forgot to call the deal in to NFL headquarters before the 4 p.m. deadline on Tuesday. Cincinnati had done its part and called it in, but rules require that both sides report it.
Schefter tweeted that the two teams had their agreement in place at 3:55 p.m. ET, five minutes before the deadline. The Browns appealed to the league to approve the trade despite their tardiness, but the NFL said no.
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
Amazingly, Cleveland was going to send 2018 second- and third-round picks to Cincinnati to get McCarron, according to Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Jim Owczarski.
Browns disputed proposed AJ McCarron trade to NFL, arguing it should be allowed, per source. NFL declined - no trade, officially, per source— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 31, 2017
That’s amazing for two reasons: One, because McCarron has started three games in his career, all when he was a rookie in 2015 (though he played fairly well in those games), and has not attempted a pass in two appearances since; and two, if the Browns were willing to give up a two and a three for McCarron, why wouldn’t they offer the same to New England for Jimmy Garoppolo, whom the Patriots traded to San Francisco for only a second-round pick on Monday night?
(Though maybe they did and the Patriots rebuffed them for whatever reason; we haven’t seen any reporting on what, if anything, Cleveland offered for Garoppolo.)
If you’re Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, how do you react to this? If you thought McCarron was a needed player and had a deal in place, how do you reconcile such a mistake?
And that’s on top of Cleveland’s braintrust passing on Carson Wentz last year and Deshaun Watson this year.
Yes, hindsight is 20/20, but there were talented quarterbacks available, and the Browns passed on them.
And what does this look like to DeShone Kizer?
The Browns have continued to waver in their support for the rookie in recent weeks, pulling him, benching him, starting him … and now, potentially, they wanted to replace him with an outside player.
At any rate, we’re sorry, Browns fans. You deserve better.