NFL requires “both clubs” to notify league office of a trade

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One day after the Browns bungled a trade with the Bengals for quarterback A.J. McCarron, the Browns continue to stick to the story that they sent the appropriate signed documentation to the Bengals with the understanding that the Bengals would sign the documentation and then send it to the league. But league policies and procedures continue to say that’s not how it works.

Sources from five different teams (not the Bengals or the Browns) have informed PFT that, for years if not decades, trades are finalized only when the two teams involved independently notify the league of the deal.

Here’s some language from the relevant policy, as it appears in the Player Personnel Handbook: “Upon agreeing to a trade, clubs shall exchange written messages of the terms and conditions, after which both clubs are required to notify the Commissioner in writing of such terms and conditions.” (Emphasis added.)

This isn’t the first time a question has emerged regarding the procedures for properly communicating a trade to the league. In 2011, the Ravens and Bears had a deal during the first round of the draft. But because both teams didn’t independently inform the league office of the deal, the deal wasn’t done. (The Ravens were upset about it, but there was nothing they could do because the deal wasn’t a deal until the Ravens and the Bears informed the league of the transaction.)

Whatever the explanation or excuse, the Browns failed to consummate the trade. As a result, ownership should immediately convene a meeting of all persons whose fingerprints are in any way on the fiasco. Ownership should explain that everyone will be interviewed separately, and that all relevant documents will be reviewed, in order to determine how accountability should be apportioned. And that accountability will then be imposed.

The accountability should be serious if anyone lies about what they did or why they did it, especially in light of the possibility that coach Hue Jackson wanted McCarron in order to enhance Hue’s chances of winning enough games over the balance of the season to get a third year and someone else wanted to keep the picks and seal Hue’s fate, resulting in an “accidental” failure to finalize the agreement.

The Browns have done a decent job of keeping dysfunction between the front office and the coaching staff under wraps through the last year and a half. But the brown stuff is finally hitting the fan, and ownership should use this incident as a vehicle for determining who needs to stay, and who needs to go.

Maybe the right answer is everyone.

24 responses to “NFL requires “both clubs” to notify league office of a trade

  1. The Browns never copied the NFL in their email to the Bengals agreeing to the trade.

    Wow, SMH.

  2. The Browns have successfully done trades before so it’s not like they don’t know the rule. The reality is either they were too busy congratulating themselves and forgot to do the all important final step in time, or the front office didn’t really want to do it and “forgot” intentionally.

  3. Wow, Florio, I 100% agree with everything you said. Either this was malicious or incompetent behavior. Either way, someone of significance has to go.

  4. “or the front office didn’t really want to do it and “forgot” intentionally.”

    If that’s true that’s worse than them being incompetent. That would mean they totally wasted everybody’s time negotiating and agreeing to a deal rather than just say “not doing it.” And then sabotaged the deal in a manner that made them look like a laughingstock which ultimately will impact future deals. The rest of the NFL won’t be taking them seriously anytime soon and will be trying to fleece them thinking they’re bumpkins.

  5. Requires “both clubs”…

    Well there you have it. Cleveland doesn’t meet the criteria of being “a club” and the league should consider contraction and dumping the team outright.

  6. I would apply Hanlon’s razor here:
    Hanlon’s razor is an aphorism expressed in various ways including “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”.

  7. Ehh, is the browns front office trying to mess with Hue Jackson on purpose?

    They told him they were going to trade for McCarron

    they screw up the paperwork and pleed ignorance

    If I was Hue Jackson, do you play out the string and hope when you get fired that you can just go back to Cincy if Marvin Lewis retires? (and he really, really should)

    If it weren’t for the Browns…imagine how much worse the Jets would look right now.

    (thank goodness they won that game!)

  8. “One day after the Browns bungled a trade with the Bengals…”

    That sentence is hilarious. Usually it is the Bengals bungling and the Browns just going up in smoke.

  9. I think if you’re Haslam you keep Hue Jackson and clean house in the front office. The Browns need management that understands both the game of football and the business of the National Football League. Right now they don’t have that and it shows on the field. I don’t know (and I don’t think anybody CAN know) whether Jackson can be a winning head coach because he’s been undermined by poor management from the outset. It’s pretty bad when the factory is even making fans of OTHER teams sad, too.

  10. Cleveland Browns, the eternal graveyard of common sense and the only place that consistently draws crooks and morons (in this case, both) for ownership.
    You simply can’t imagine any professional organization as afflicted as the Browns.

  11. This also happened during the 2003 draft when the Ravens agreed to a deal with the Vikings to swap first round picks, but the Ravens never told the NFL. The Vikings let the pick go by because they thought they had a trade and people are still laughing at them about it. It was poetic justice that the same thing happened to the Ravens in 2011.

  12. For the love of god can’t someone help Cleveland run a team .this is just a sadness factory. What about kizer comparing himself to Brady. This is a special kind of train wreck

  13. Don’t understand why the overreaction and disappointment. AJ will be a RFA next season and most likely be tendered with a 2nd round grade. If the Browns who have all the picks in the world next year still feel like they want AJ as their franchise QB they can always agree to terms. Doubt he will get premium dollars with so little body of work as a starter.

    Besides this might be a blessing in disguise since the Browns will most likely have the #1 pick in next year draft they will have the luxury to pick the QB of their choice from a draft that will be loaded with QB prospects.

  14. Contract the Browns for gross incompetence, and contract the Falcons at minimum for not having a suitable stadium to host games. Then go back to 6 divisions of 5 teams each. The league will be stronger and the player pool will deepen a little bit.

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