Latest On Bungled A.J. McCarron Trade

The Bengals and Browns had a deal in place to send A.J. McCarron to Cleveland, but the trade did not go through. More came out as to why McCarron is still in Cincinnati on Wednesday.

Ohio’s NFL teams discussed this deal throughout the day, Mary Kay Cabot of reports, with a source informing the Browns-embedded reporter it wasn’t certain the Browns wanted to complete the deal — one that would have sent McCarron to Cleveland for second- and third-round picks.

The Browns agreed to the Bengals’ terms just before the deadline, but several sources confirmed to Cabot Adam Schefter of’s report of the Browns not getting the necessary paperwork to the league in time. Separate emailed agreements to the league constitute a trade, and Cabot reports the Browns’ signed document didn’t go to the league in time. (The Browns’ subsequent request to get the NFL to allow the trade failed.)

A source also informed Cabot the Browns emailed a signed trade agreement to the Bengals, expecting them to sign it and send it to the NFL. But a Bengals spokesman said, per Cabot, the team never received said email.

This stands to add to the discord between the front office and the coaching staff, because Hue Jackson pushed for this trade, Cabot reports. The second-year Browns coach made McCarron a priority target in the offseason after he realized his team wasn’t going to offer enough to pry Jimmy Garoppolo away from the Patriots. And Jackson was again behind a McCarron deal on Tuesday, with Cabot reporting the head coach wanted a veteran capable of winning games while mentoring DeShone Kizer.

McCarron, who went 2-1 as a starter in 2015 before starting in a wild-card loss to the Steelers, is under team control for two more years. But the fourth-year player is fighting for UFA status in hopes of reaching the market and becoming a potential starting option for a team in 2018. The 27-year-old quarterback has thrown just 119 NFL passes, but he worked with Jackson for two years prior to the coach leaving for the Browns’ HC job.

This certainly sends a signal the team doesn’t believe it can be in position to win many games with its current quarterback setup, which is understandable for a Browns operation that’s 1-23 since the new regime took over.

A McCarron addition would seemingly help the Jackson-led team win games this season, but it would not exactly be in line with the front office’s way of thinking. The Browns have made acquiring draft choices a priority, and the team giving up two Day 2 selections for a stopgap-type quarterback would seemingly constitute a change in organizational philosophy.

As it stands now, McCarron will be an RFA this offseason. He has an obvious known suitor but one whose interest level in employing the passer might not be fully known as a result of this saga.

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