Browns Bungle 11th-Hour Trade For QB AJ McCarron With Bengals

The trade deadline for the 2017 NFL season has come and gone, and it was a predictably quiet time for the Pittsburgh Steelers—at least on their end, though, reportedly, multiple teams called enquiring about Martavis Bryant.

Those suitors included the Buffalo Bills, who pulled off a last-minute trade with the Carolina Panthers in order to acquire former first-round draft pick Kelvin Benjamin to bolster Tyrod Taylor’s passing game. The Bills are a 5-2 team, and just got stronger.

The Cleveland Browns, meanwhile, are puttering at 0-8 and just bungled a last-minute trade of their own. Adam Schefter reports that they worked out a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals to acquire Andy Dalton’s backup, AJ McCarron, but…well, I’ll let the Tweets do the talking.

So, evidently, both sides actually ended up working out a completed trade, but the Browns failed to deliver their end of the trade by the 4 PM deadline. They were close, but it was moments too late, and the league rejected the trade because of that.

McCarron was one option that the Browns pursued at the quarterback position back in the spring, though he was always their second option behind the New England PatriotsJimmy Garropolo, whom they recently successfully dealt to the San Francisco 49ers—the other winless team—in exchange for a second-round draft pick.

So not only did they see their top option get traded away right in front of them, they also had their backup plan snatched from under their feet because they were too late. Meanwhile, rookie second-round pick DeShone Kizer can’t be feeling too great.

Head Coach Hue Jackson said when he named Kizer his starting quarterback that the team would be sticking with him through the ups and downs as a 21-year-old. But they have already benched him twice.

It’s clear at this point that the Browns are not committed to him in the future, though for practical purposes this should always have been assumed in the first place. It’s not as though Cleveland has not had a carousel of failed quarterbacks, including high draft picks, over the course of the past two decades.

So what’s the next step? Was the trade pursuit a result, at least in part, of their evaluation of the upcoming quarterback class? Not that their dissatisfaction of the next group of passers should be seen as much of an indictment.

The Browns were in position to draft Carson Wentz last year, and traded back. They were in position to draft Deshaun Watson this year, and traded back. They could have traded up a year ago for Jared Goff, but they instead chose to trade back—twice—for an oft-injured wide receiver.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Silly Brownies!

  • Chad Weiss

    Is he a free agent after this year or no?

  • Spencer Krick


  • melblount

    I’ve felt bad for Clowns fans many times in my life, but I gotta say, I feel some genuine sadness for them today.

    This one, err two as it were, GOTTA hurt, especially while the city is still licking its wounds over the Indians AND staring down the barrel of a winless season.

    Not sure about Garoppolo, but I’ve always thought McCarron is/can be the real deal.

    SO close, but they came up empty…AGAIN.

    Trick or treat indeed!

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Hopefully Mike Tomlin will not be contacting the Browns front office for their list of clock management best practices.

  • Zarbor

    We should have gone out and got Kizer from the the Browns. Trust me they would have sold him for a bucket of chicken. He is way better than our third string……way better.

    I said the same thing about Kirk Cousins when he was behind RG3 and came in relief and three a ton of INTs. Not getting Kizer was the same mistake. That dude needs to be coached up and sit behind and learn

  • Bill Wood

    A geography professor told me in college that God hates Russia. When it comes to football, I’m beginning to wonder if He hates the Browns too. Sheesh!

  • nutty32

    Blessing in disguise for the Browns. AJ wouldn’t have made any difference. AJ is already on their roster – his name is Cody Kessler. Don’t tell me that Hue doesn’t realize that he’s there to oversee the tank job?
    Bills trade is interesting. They shipped Sammy Watkins out and replaced him with another under performer. At least Benjamin doesn’t publicly complain, I guess, but Watkins is much more explosive when he wants to be. Watkins & a 3rd for Benjamin & a 2nd, more or less.
    I probably would have moved MB for a 3rd & a 7th, but gotta assume the Bills weren’t offering that for MB(?)…

  • Timothy Rea

    Business as usual for the browns. Too bad for them but hey least Bengals got screwed out of whatever they were getting too so that’s good

  • deuce_seven

    On November 23, 2014, the Browns were 7-4 and led the AFC North. Since then they have gone 4-41.

  • Bill Wood

    On a somewhat related note, I wonder how the Jimmy G trade to SF might impact the draft- -if we indeed look for Ben’s heir next year. With the status of Cousins and Smith in the air and a strong QB class coming out it might be the perfect time even if we are (hopefully) drafting 32nd. Aside from Cleveland, are there many QB needy teams?

  • Lambert58

    That really is par for the course with these guys. Pathetic.

    Have to agree, I think McCarron could end up being a starter somewhere. Surprised it hasn’t happened yet.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Kizer is not better than landry.

  • Nolrog

    The sun comes up in the morning, water is wet, and the Browns will be Browns.

  • francesco

    Garoppolo trade is interesting. If Brady gets hurt they have no back up. But how or when will Brady ever get injured? Its a risk but is it really? And for assuming that risk the Pats get a second round pick! Brilliant.

  • EdJHJr

    I get it stop complaining about the steelers and look at the brownies.

    Ok I did , I’m done.

    Steelers should be 8-0

  • Paul RK

    no. he will be an restricted FA after this year. only about 4 million to guarantee a 1st RD pick in return.

  • francesco

    As for AJ McCarron trade or non trade the Browns were offering a 2nd and 3rd round pick! Imagine what the Steelers can get for LBell?!

  • melblount

    Patriots are reportedly one of three teams trying to obtain Hoyer.

  • dany

    Browns rubbing off on the Bengals eh

  • Gizmosteel

    I’d take him if #7 is hanging them up after this season. That can have Martavis

  • John Pennington

    Steelers should have made the deal for AJ

  • Dan

    That is pretty messed up. I’m with you on the empathy part. Gotta be tough to be a fan there. The fans deserve more. Today’s news is rediculous, but I’m glad for it, because I suspect McCarron is better than Dalton (can’t offer much proof, just a feeling). As it turns out, any shred of remaining confidence in the Brown’s QB is now decimated, and McCarron gets more time on the bench. Good for us.

  • John Pennington

    Steelers should have traded for AJ then they would have Bens replacement plus a goid backup qb in the mean time.Maybe next year they can make the deal if the price us right.

  • StolenUpVotes


  • NinjaMountie

    I don’t think McCarron is a franchise QB. That’s what it would take to replace Ben.
    If Ben retires at the end of the year they have some good options. Honestly, if he’s going to retire in the next year or two, this would be the best year to do so….for the team, not him. lol

  • NinjaMountie

    seriously!? A 2nd and 3rd? Wow, where did you hear this?

  • gdeuce

    AJ is not good, he can’t even beat out Dalton

  • NinjaMountie

    The Browns will be the Browns! It doesn’t matter who the coach or the GM is… sad. Truly…it’s actually sad.

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    AJ is better than Dalton. Plus, he’s not a choke artist. He had that playoff game won two years ago b4 Hill fumbled it away and the bungle brothers did their thing. Luckily for us, Marvin Lewis continues to be Marvin Lewis and keeps trottin ‘ole red’ out there. Under a better coaching staff, McCarron would have had his opportunity by now. It’s not his fault Cincinnati drafted him. On the bright side, his loss is our good fortune; Dalton poses very little threat.

  • MDSteelerfan

    I’m guessing it was AJ at the league office – and he put the call on hold and walked away…

  • francesco

    NFL Network

  • Ray

    Kizer got benched at Notre Dame, he’s incredibly inaccurate, doesn’t process defenses well. And there’s no proof he’s better than Dobbs anyways.

  • DirtDawg1964

    Meanwhile, in Steeler land, if they win only 4 games in the first half of a season, we’re all having a meltdown.

  • DirtDawg1964

    It’s now being reported that the Bungles messed up. Not the Browns. They reportedly handed in paperwork with only their signature on it. They were supposed to hand in paperwork with both teams’ signatures on it.

  • Z Vranic RMT

    They could off had a young gunslinger jyst diwn the road in 94 named BIG BEN! Instead they drafted a TE. No wonder they suck!

  • NinjaMountie

    All I can say is WOW. I’m not sure what’s funnier, the fact they didn’t get it done or the fact that they were willing to give up those two picks for McCarron.

  • MintDragon

    Hilarity. Browns are now blaming the Bungles, saying that Bengals didn’t send it in time. McCarren is pissed now, Bungles missed out on 2 draft picks, Browns have to have deflated their QBs egos to the ground with this… What a beautiful day it turned out to be!!

    Bwwwaaahhaaahahahahhahaha.!! 😂🤣😝

  • Andrew

    Next year, Darnold will be taken number 1 overall by the Browns, compete with Kevin Hogan for the starting spot all year, Kizer will ride the bench, while Kessler is cut, picked up by the Jets, and has an MVP season. Book it.

  • Andrew

    Next year, I wonder if the Steelers will look at Kizer. There was interest pre-draft, and if the Browns truly decide to pursue another QB in round 1, they may look to flip him. He has the tools, he is just raw. If we could get him cheap (similar to what happened to Cardale Jones), I think it could be a savvy move.

  • ThatGuy

    This is why the Browns are the Browns

  • Mrs Bighead

    Wonder if we are

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    I think it’s the fact that Belichik didn’t hold out long enough. He only got a 2nd round pick for Garoppolo. He could have gotten a 3rd to go along with it….

  • Zombie Nixon

    The Browns are cursed!

  • I still think a 2nd round pick for Garoppolo is silly. McCarron should be happy he is still in Cincy, yeah they have the #escaLOSER but Cleveland is where football careers go to die.

  • It’s brilliant because Belichick did it. There is a double standard. If Tomlin and Colbert traded away our only back up QB, they would be lamented and these boards would be in an upheaval…

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    We have to keep in mind they are the Browns & the bar is set very low. They have met expectations

  • John Phillips

    Maybe we should get That quarterback.

  • Steeldog22

    Yeah the Bengals are the ones who are really getting hosed. A second and third is a good deal.

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    A 2nd rounder is ridiculous if you’re SF. And it’s not cuz I think Jimmy G is bad. I loved him coming out and I believe he has the right stuff to be a good starter. But you just gave up a top 40 pick in a QB rich draft to basically have the right to tag him (give a guy 20+ mil based on half a season on your team). I mean, a top 40 pick for 8 games?! Best case scenario he hurts your draft status. Worst case He ends up not being as good as advertised. That’s a lose, lose IMO.

  • DoctorNoah

    Cf Zach Mettenberger…

  • SteelPierogie

    Bengals are telling us AJ is nothing spectacular by possibly trading him within the division. The Browns need to draft 2 qb’s with their 2 first round picks next year.

  • NinjaMountie


  • Applebite

    Happy for McCarron….The Browns would just get him injured anyhow.

  • heath miller

    agree AJ is better then dalton . dalton is .. as you say a 4th Qt choke artist… the way to beat the bengals is go inot the 4th Qt tie and wait for dalton to toss the INT … hes terrible under pressure

  • Matthew Marczi

    Are you new here? We’ve been covering divisional news literally every day for years. These are teams the Steelers play twice a year, at least, sometimes three times, which is why we value this coverage to keep people informed about our closest rivals.

  • Matthew Marczi

    According to other sources, the Browns’ story is nonsense, and that’s not even how trades operate. The Browns either don’t know what they’re doing, just messed up and created a lie, or created the lie on purpose to sabotage the trade.

  • heath miller

    well yes and no .. hes NOT a franchise Qb for the steelers that set their sights on the super bowl almost every year.. but i thin he is a franchise QB for th bengals that are happy with a .500 team or a 9-7 team .. wild card and lose the first game of the playoffs… and he would 100% franchise QB for the browns because he would win a game or two and in cleveland that a season to remember… i can hear them now in cleveland in 2085 after another 0-16 season …. guys sitting around the sports bar and saying remember when McCaron won 2 games back in 2020 … wow what a great season 2-14…. boy those were the good old days ….. HEATHHHHH

  • John

    Good for AJ. Browns obviously cannot do anything right. Thankfully they won’t get a chance to ruin McCarron.

  • heath miller

    thats why i say trade bryant to the browns .. they have all those fraft picks stocked up… he will go there to die… never win a game .. smoke some pot and get banned for life . and we take the browns DP for basically nothing … its a WIN WIN WIN .. we get a maybe 3rd pick from cleve.. cleve ends up with nothing … and bryant goes back to the hood …

  • heath miller

    wonder what they will give us for landry and bryant… trade them a pkg deal for that same 2nd and 3rd ounders?

  • heath miller

    my guess is belichik DIDN’T make a mistakee

  • heath miller

    thats one way to look at it or we can look at it that we are damn lucky to be 6-2.. i can see us at 8-0 or 4-4 so 6-2 is about right i think .. HEATHHHH

  • heath miller

    well someone has to put him out … a dirty late hit to the knees and he could be done not only for the season but for his career ..

  • heath miller

    omg … amazing stat … thas amazing .. won 7 of 11 then lost 37 of 41…. nice stat deuce… i’d never have guessed that ..

  • heath miller

    we as steeler fans are way spoiled… its all about expectations .. we expect a SB every season .. the browns hope to win a regular season game… the bengals hope to win a playoff game that they have no won since 1990

  • Charles Haines

    Kizer couldn’t beat Navy.

  • Charles Haines

    fabulous draft that year. 2 first rounders and they come away with Justin Gilbert and Johnny Cocktails!

  • Darth Blount 47

    I’m no QB guru. But I watch a ton of college football. And I’m a draftnik. I was a big fan of both Wentz and Watson. On the Watson profile on here, I remarked about how he was my favorite of the class and if I could get one guy for Pittsburgh at that position, it would be him. I’ll admit, I was not high on Goff. And he could end up being pretty good after all. This upcoming class, if everyone who is touted actually does come out (there’s talk about Darnold returning to school, etc..) then I do think it can be considered a “loaded” QB class. Will any of them be stars? Who knows? But from a depth and talent perspective, the ’18 class looks very good. And we should be able to get us one if we so chose, even at pick 32. 😉

  • Darth Blount 47

    Are you suggesting someone call Kimo VonOelhoffen?

  • will

    So they have written off Kizer after just half a season? I guess this move (almost) was part of their “Win now” strategy. 😐

  • will

    What a touching thought……..

  • will

    You view Kimo’s Hit as “dirty”?….and late?

  • will

    Or it does not matter who the owner is. There must be a generational curse on the Brown family.

  • LucasY59

    Green, Ross and Bryant would not be a good group of WRs to have to match up against 2x a yr, unless DaLOLton is the QB, but the Bungles might be drafting one early in the next draft (since it is supposed to be a talented group of QBs in the draft class)

  • Darth Blount 47

    Well, let’s just say he’d be flagged in today’s NFL, fined, and if he did it to Brady and not Palmer, likely tarred and feathered.

  • HondoCogburn

    Even Kevin Costner couldn’t save this FUBAR of a “team”, situation normal all f’d up!

  • HondoCogburn

    Not to mention a browns executive said Carson Wentz will never be better than a top twenty quaterback.

  • Iulo

    lol… is this a joke?
    oh dear, the same stupid script we all know… QB’s come and go… maybe the QB’s are not at all the problem… Hue must go! immediatly! no excuses right now… he had 4QB’s before the start of the season and he is still looking for another one… cmmon!

  • kakello34

    Good, I didn’t want the Bungles getting an extra 2nd and 3rd round pick next year. And they would have been high (1 or 2) in each round.

  • will

    Ok…..understand….I did not think it was dirty either.

  • I would say that takes a team out of the QB race in next years draft but it really doesn’t because now NE will be in the market for one as well.

  • Chad Weiss

    No way would I trade a first for mccaron.Secind at best.If garropolo didn’t get a first I highly doubtMcCaaron would be


    I am pretty sure browns just changed their mind at the last second.

  • Tom McConnell

    Gilbert was one of the best prospects that year according to everyone. Shows the possibility of 2 things: poor coaching has dramatic influence & the draft is a guessing game.

  • francesco

    Its amazing isn’t it?! The degree that you despise MB is the degree that I appreciate him!

  • Tom McConnell

    Dobbs is better than both, just needs coached a little more.

  • francesco

    What do think of Wimbush QB of Notre Dame?

  • KenFromNewJersey

    You know he has a daughter right? Your passion for football is overtaking your decency for human life and child rearing. You want him to smoke pot again because he’s unhappy with the Steelers? We share the same football team but I believe that’s where the similarities stop. Good luck in life man. Hope you never make mistakes.

  • Conserv_58

    Feel bad, for the browns? Cry me a river. Since coming back in the league in ‘99 the browns have been the model franchise for utter dysfunction and ineptitude. They hadn’t even been back in the league for fifteen years when they changed ownership. They have gone through more QB’s, front office personnel and coaching staffs than any other team since 1999. They have been drafting at the top of the draft for so long that some of their fans weren’t born the last time they drafted at or below the tenth pick. It goes without saying that any team that has been picking at the top of the draft for that long should have pu together a winning team by now. As for feeling sorry for their fans, I don’t. I can’t feel sorry for people that choose to support that team when they don’t have to. Being a browns fan is the perfect example of misery loving company.

  • Conserv_58

    LMAO! I’m so glad fans like you have no input in personnel decisions. Colbert should have been fired, immediately if he did what your suggesting he do. Kizer is not better than any QB on the Steelers’ roster. Period.

  • Conserv_58

    I should win the Power ball lottery too, but their record is what it is because they earned it.

  • Conserv_58

    I agree with you, but the browns have something like fourteen picks going into the next draft. I think they have two firsts and a bevy of early round picks.

  • Conserv_58

    Hue Jackson commited a cardinal sin in coaching by telling the press he’s going to stay with his rookie and then goes on to play musical chairs with him. Any good coach would tell you that what Jackson is doing could easily ruin a rookie QB’s development and possibly his career.

  • melblount

    Thanks for the (albeit long-winded) definition of a “bandwagon fan.”

    So when the Buccos sucked, you became a what, Cardinals fan?
    So when the Penguins sucked, you became a what, Flyers fan?
    So when the Steelers sucked, you became a what, Ravens fan?

    Got it. And good to know.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    What the Browns are doing with Kizer is disgraceful. He’s a rookie. He’s learning. This is what you drafted him for. But because he isn’t Dak Prescott right away (let’s not forget he doesn’t have Prescott’s supporting cast either), you bench him and toy around with trades in his face.

    If I’m a quarterback, I’m pulling an Eli Manning and refusing to sign with the Browns. At this point, how can a prospect not calculate that it’s detrimental to their career to play in Cleveland?

  • Conserv_58

    Oh please. Bandwagon fan? Not hardly, bub.

  • Rotten Sircus

    I read it was the Bengals who didn’t sign the trade sheet when it was sent to NFL headquarters. Either way I think AJ McCarron is thinking his lucky stars !!! Lol

  • AndyR34

    Sub-humans will be sub-humans. Of course he never made a mistake in his life…was never wrong about anything…and has never needed to apologize for anything. Thank you for calling it as it is.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    probably too busy celebrating giving high five and fist bumps screaming “we got’em”

  • pittfan

    I too though he showed a lot of promise when we played them. But…it’s the Clowns…

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    you really can’t make this stuff up

  • pittfan

    Isn’t McCarron the Alabama QB that had the hot girlfriend who Brett Musburger drooled over on national TV? That dude is doing alright….

  • pittfan

    As if you’re tied to a team for life no matter how crappy they conduct their affairs??? LMAO

  • Talyn Scarbrough

    I’m a Notre dame fan but wimbush isn’t that good to be perfectly honest. He’s just really athletic but seems to lack arm talent. I haven’t really specifically watched for wimbush though. I’ll look into it more.

  • heath miller

    havnt yet and im 65 so i think i’ll be ok but appreciate the concern ..

  • heath miller

    good for you

  • heath miller

    just realistic

  • heath miller

    works for me

  • melblount

    Cute you using my “bub” term. I’d do that kinda stuff when I was 12. Thanks for reminding me.

    Anyways, bub, I used basic logic.

    YOU ragged on Clowns fans for sticking with their team during the dark times.

    YOU said:

    “As for feeling sorry for their fans, I don’t. I can’t feel sorry for people that choose to support that team when they don’t have to. Being a browns fan is the perfect example of misery loving company.”

    IF that’s your position, it would logically follow that when the ‘burgh teams (teams that YOU do not have to support) go through their dark times, as the Buccos did for ~20 years, you likely jumped off the bandwagon because you wouldn’t want to be part of “misery loving company.”

    Again, YOU said, “I can’t feel sorry for people that choose to support that team when they don’t have to.”

    Based on what YOU said, you have all the makings of a bandwagon fan to me.

  • Zarbor

    Yeah, you idiots have no idea what you are talking about. If you think Dobbs is better than Kizer, you don’t know football period. But keep telling yourself that you do.