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.