When the first report of a near-trade that would have sent quarterback A.J. McCarron from the Bengals to the Browns broke on Tuesday, word was that the two sides came “close” to agreeing on the deal but couldn’t get it finalized before the deadline.
It appears to be a bit more complicated than that. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Bengals believed the deal was done five minutes ahead of the 4 p.m. ET deadline and notified the league of their intent to send McCarron to their division rivals. Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Bengals were set to receive 2018 second- and third-round picks.
The Browns did not do the same, however. Per Schefter, their notification of the trade came moments too late — shades of Elvis Dumervil and the fax machine of doom in 2013 — and the league did not approve the deal. The Browns protested that ruling, but the NFL did not agree to put the deal through so McCarron remains with the Bengals.
Browns coach Hue Jackson reportedly wanted Jimmy Garoppolo, who was dealt to the 49ers on Monday, and presumably was a driver in a bid for McCarron after coaching him for two years with the Bengals. At the moment, though, the quarterbacks in Cleveland are still DeShone Kizer, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan.