There are bad teams, there are dysfunctional teams — and then there’s the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns’ hapless season somehow took a turn for the worse last week amid reports that they botched a deal to acquire quarterback AJ McCarron from the Cincinnati Bengals ahead of the NFL trade deadline.
But because this is the Browns, there’s an even uglier side of the story: Several Browns coaches believe vice president of football operations Sashi Brown had no intention of completing the McCarron trade and intentionally sabotaged it by failing to submit paperwork in time ahead of last Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET trade deadline, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported Sunday.
Brown got the chance to respond Monday and dismissed that report as “wholly untrue.”
“I am not worried about that internally,” Brown said, via ESPN.com. “Externally, I can just put it to bed; that is just not the case.
The Bengals reportedly wanted a second- and third-round pick for McCarron, which seems high for a backup quarterback and might explain why Brown was hesitant about making the deal. But Cleveland’s de facto general manager insisted he did everything by the letter, sending trade paperwork to Cincinnati at 3:54 p.m. ET. The Bengals apparently missed the email, and by the time the Browns realized it the next day, it was too late to complete a deal.
“This is just a matter of getting to a deal too late in the process,” Brown added. “… I think both sides, both Cincinnati and us, tried our damnedest to try to get the paperwork in at the last minute. We’re talking minutes and seconds before the trade deadline ended.
“We were on the phone with the NFL at the time to try to make it happen. It did not happen.”
The more things change in Cleveland, the more they stay the same.
Thumbnail photo via Scott R. Galvin/USA TODAY Sports Images