A week ago today, the football-following world was becoming acquainted with the latest and far-from-greatest trade effort by the Browns, who had a deal with the Bengals for quarterback A.J. McCarron but failed to report it to the league office before the annual window closed. During a Tuesday media briefing, the NFL confirmed that the procedure the Browns attempted to implement unnecessarily complicated the process.
Spokesman Michael Signora explained that teams can, if they chose, prepare a formal trade document and obtain signatures of both teams, with one of them submitting it to the league office. Signora also said that notice of the trade can be submitted by the teams individually, with the league verifying a match as to the terms.
The Browns opted for the former process, which while not erroneous can be horribly inefficient, especially when the clock is ticking loudly. The Browns should have simply sent an email to the league office, with the Bengals doing the same. (The Bengals, by the way, did.)
And so the question continues to be whether it was accidental or deliberate. Browns executive V.P. of football operations Sashi Brown responded to the sabotage question in a calm, matter-of-fact way. Given the implications of a sabotage allegation, he arguably should have been a little upset (or a lot upset) about being accused of essentially committing an act of treason against his team.