On this edition of As the AFC North Turns…sabotage! Deception! Intrigue! Maybe?
More on the intradivisional trade that wasn’t. remember, just minutes before the trade deadline earlier this week, the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns were said to have agreed to a deal that would have sent quarterback AJ McCarron to the Browns in second for second- and third-round draft picks.
Ultimately, the Browns never submitted their portion of the paperwork to the league on-time, so the trade was never approved, and thus never happened. It is said that the Browns sent their signed paperwork to the Bengals, believing that they would also sign it and send it to the league.
As I mentioned the other day, that’s not really how trades work. As a matter of fact, the paperwork for a trade doesn’t even need to be submitted right away. The two teams simply have to notify the league via email of the trade details, ensuring that the terms are identical. The trade is then approved and the paperwork can be sent in at a leisurely pace within 15 days of the trade, provided that the terms remain the same.
So was the trade botched…intentionally? There were those within the Browns organization, particularly in the scouting department, who place an abundance of value on draft picks, and didn’t really want to deal to be done.
The paperwork was sent from the Browns to the Bengals from not Sashi Brown, who had dealt with Cincinnati on the details, but from Chris Cooper, the director of football administration. The Bengals didn’t even know to look for such a name. They found the (unnecessary) email far later. Why was Cooper sending this email?
Head Coach Hue Jackson was on board. He was in Cincinnati when they drafted McCarron. And frankly, he’s trying to win games. The owners signed off on the trade. They know Jackson is trying to win games and doesn’t have the talent at quarterback to do it.
It’s rather believable to me, however, that others, particularly those more geared toward the roster-building aspect, held out reservations with the trade. And many over in Cincinnati ended up being relieved when the trade didn’t go through as well.
“AJ is a very valuable member of this team. I told him that yesterday after (the trade deadline)”, head coach Marvin Lewis said the next day. “Frankly, I was relieved that I don’t have to go through those gymnastics of the next steps. He’s a great kid. True team player. He’s a leader – a leader on this football team”.
“I’m not angry. I’m not upset. It feels good to be wanted”, McCarron said. “Today I’m going to thank Mr. Brown personally. I admire that he was going to give me an opportunity to go start and play somewhere. I really appreciate that of him. He’s been an unbelievable owner in my experience here”.
Meanwhile, Jackson will try to win his second game in 25 opportunities, presumably with DeShone Kizer at quarterback and a nation of football fans laughing at his team’s futility.