Browns Forget to Turn in Paperwork for a Trade

I wrote last week about the Cleveland Browns and their front offices approach to building the team. At the trade deadline I think this turned from a reasonable debate to a comedy. In what seemed like a desperation play the Browns agreed with division rival Cincinnati on a trade that would bring Bengals backup QB AJ McCarron to Cleveland, presumably to start. The trade package was borderline absurd based on reports- a 2nd and 3rd round draft pick for a guy who has started 3 games and has a 5th round draft pedigree. It got worse from there as the Browns apparently forgot to get the paperwork into the NFL on time to get the trade approved. The Browns went from looking bad to looking like they don’t belong in the NFL.

For the life of me I can’t understand the logic behind the trade. Just a day before the 49ers and Patriots agreed to trade Jimmy Garoppolo for a 2nd round draft pick. Garoppolo was a former 2nd round draft pick and considered a better prospect than McCarron, who wasn’t considered good enough to unseat Andy Dalton, the ultimate average NFL starter.

The Browns were reportedly hot for Garoppolo as well this past March which made it odd they weren’t involved with him, but I can understand them not being involved since  its quite likely the Patriots went to San Francisco about a trade and the 49ers accepted it so the Browns never had a chance. That said the 2nd round pick should have set the max value of the market.

While there are financial differences between the two (Garoppolo is a free agent after the year while McCarrons stint on NFI as a rookie will make him a restricted free agent next year) that shouldn’t have been a big factor.  Ill assume that this is the Eagles 2nd round pick that they received from the Wentz trade that would have been used, but still it’s a high price. To throw a 3 in these just seems ludicrous.

The Browns may have hurt themselves last year when they made a surprising trade for linebacker Jamie Collins from the Patriots for a  late 3rd round pick. The only logic behind that deal was the Browns looking to buy exclusive negotiating rights for a few months for a 3rd rounder. That may have made it easier for the Bengals to ask for much more since a QB is far more valuable than a linebacker.

The trade, on paper, seemed like it was pushed by head coach Hue Jackson. Jackson worked with the Bengals before he landed the job in Cleveland and was certainly familiar with McCarron. Immediately it reminded me of when the Bengals fleeced Jackson back in 2011 for Carson Palmer in one of the worst trades of all time. At the time Palmer was retired from football after a falling out with his former team but Jackson was willing to part with a 1 and 2 for Palmer. Jackson was soon fired and Palmer was soon out of Oakland.

How they failed to get the paperwork in on time is beyond me. Part of me wants to believe that Jackson was given the authority to talk about a deal and then one of the higher ups nixed it when they realized what the compensation was. That at least makes some sense since its impossible to believe a team didnt realize to file everything. I mean in a week where the Patriots front office finds realizes that including a player in a package would cost them a compensatory pick so they quickly modify the deal the Browns couldn’t even figure out how to file the paperwork for a trade?  Teams pick up on these small details all the time and if the Browns couldn’t even get the big one correct then the only other explanation is that they are inept.

I have no idea how even the most ardent Browns front office supporter could have spun this move. The team paid Brock Osweiler around $15 million just for the sake of having a 2nd round draft pick (the real value of it is lower when you look at the whole package) because those picks are so incredibly valuable. Apparently it was so valuable that they would have flipped $15 million and another draft pick for AJ McCarron. Let that sink in for a minute. You spent all that money or bypassed a potential franchise QB to gain draft assets to eventually land AJ McCarron?

At the end of the day its probably good fortune for the Browns that the trade did not happen, because that end result may have been worse. At least they have their picks and maybe can do something with them, but it has to be just hopeless for the Browns fans right now with the way the team is being run.

  • a57se

    A-N-A-L-YTICS….Notice the first four letters?

    • McGeorge

      Jackson may be a failure, but it doesn’t sound like the rest of the Browns organization is any better.
      Was it Jackson who had the final say on passing on Wentz and Watson? Who took Kizer?

  • Werner

    Let’s take the blessing in disguise of saving a pick and not extending the sad QB-Story intra-season. They can shoot themselves in the foot in the next draft still again. Just once again for a foreigner like me: I understand that the Browns took on Osweiler to eat the Cap Space they have plentiful still – but that they never actually paid him, as the (non cap relevant cheque(s)) came from Texans – or do i have this terribly wrong (almost as wrong as the Browns Front Office?

    • McGeorge

      >>They can shoot themselves in the foot in the next draft still again

      You got that right.

      Werner, are there any sports franchises you know of like the Browns?

      • Werner

        Not in the US Major Leagues i believe. We have in Germany the FC Nürnberg, who is a Roller Coaster Club – 1960s Year 1 German Champion – Year 2 relegated to 2nd League – 2000s German Cupwinner next Year relegated to 2nd League – what is called an Elevator Franchise in Germany – to good for 2nd League – not good enough for 1st League… unfortunately there is no NFL Minor League, where Browns could mature as an Organisation. We probably have the Curse of firing BB here as Doom over the Organisation (compare the Cubs Goat or the Red Sox Sale of Babe Ruth) – maybe it will resolve once he retires….

        • McGeorge

          I like how soccer works. In the English Premier league the bottom 3 teams get kicked out and the next 3 minor league teams get promoted.
          No tanking there.

          Tanking is a big problem in the NBA. As for the Browns, they can’t help themselves.

          • Werner

            On the other hand, Soccer got pretty boring lately with same rich clubs dominating across Europe. But back to the Browns – let’s just imagine Brock Osweiler becomes Come Back Player of the Year carried by the strong Broncos defense and no need to always come from behind with challenging throws …..

          • McGeorge

            I think it would be funny if Osweiller does well in Denver.
            Then the Broncos have a bargain basement QB and the Browns are paying for it.
            I want to see that so I’m rooting for Oz.

    • Charles Crawford

      Browns took on Osweiler’s guaranteed salary for 2017, so they’ll end up paying him $16M. A little less if the contract has offsets due to his new contract with the Broncos.

  • McGeorge

    I think the Browns are way smarter than the rest of us, like Chip Kelly was.
    We just don’t understand them because all of us are dumb.
    The Browns have a master plan.
    They realize Carson Wentz is a flash in the pan.
    And Deshaun Watson is a bum.
    With the Browns proven track record at selecting pro bowl QBs just wait, they are going to select a HOF QB the next time they draft a QB, which might not be for 20 years after Kizer puts it together.

    And its not a big deal, forgetting to file paper work. I’m sure that if one worked for a big high powered law firm and someone blew a deal over forgetting to file paperwork no one would care. Same for Wall street.


    I’ve got to say, the Browns are the most amusing pro sports organization I’ve seen. Its not just one or two gaffs, its everything. Day in day out, it’s always something. The moneyball approach may eventually pay benefits, but my god am I enjoying watching this.

  • Cliff Baum

    Browns fans should be happy this happened. They now have more pressure to clean house and the next management team has lots of picks to work with and isn’t saddled with McCarron.