It sounds like Bengals president Mike Brown and Browns head coach Hue Jackson were all set to swap quarterbacks again on Trading Deadline Day.
But unlike what happened six years ago when the Bengals unloaded quarterback Carson Palmer on Jackson's Raiders, this trade got done and then undone at literally the last minute and Andy Dalton is still Andy Dalton's backup.
After the 4 p.m. deadline passed, ESPN reported Tuesday that the Bengals had a deal with Cleveland for McCarron in exchange for what has been reported as a second- and third-rounder in next year's draft. After a day of off-and-on talks, the Browns apparently agreed to a deal about six minutes before the deadline, setting off a furious chain of events.
Indications are the Bengals already had the paperwork in place and immediately signed it before sending it to both the Browns and the NFL office and the league approved it from the Bengals' end. According to multiple reports, the Browns missed the deadline and the NFL wouldn't let the trade stand when Cleveland lobbied to let it go through. Cleveland.com reported the Bengals went through standard operating procedure and the league didn't approve it because they had nothing signed by the Browns.
In 2011 when Jackson was the head coach in Oakland, he and Brown hammered out a deal 48 hours after the Raiders lost starting quarterback Jason Campbell to injury. Brown hit the lottery when he sent the disgruntled Palmer to the Raiders, ending his nine-month retirement, and got in return a first-rounder in the next draft and a second-rounder in 2013. Meet Dre Kirkpatrick and Giovani Bernard.
One can only imagine what was agreed to Tuesday since Brown has never played the Ohio Lottery. Never in the 50 years of the franchise has a Brown, Paul or Mike, done a trade with Cleveland, the old or new Browns. No doubt Mike Brown was leering at the five picks Cleveland had in the first three rounds.
A second and third, as has been reported, would have been another heist, given that McCarron is a fifth-round pick with four NFL starts.The Patriots got a second-rounder from the 49ers for Tom Brady backup Jimmy Garoppolo. It was apparently enough for Brown to end a 50-year stance. Trading a quarterback in the AFC North no doubt sparked some internal debate, given that it breaks none of the league's Ten Commandments in never helping a division rival.
It's just not Cleveland. According to Bengals director of media relations P.J. Combs' exhaustive list of trades in the club's media guide, the Bengals have also never traded with Pittsburgh. The only divisional trade in Bengals' history seems to be a Nov. 1 1972 in-season blockbuster with Houston that sent running backs Paul Robinson and Fred Willis to the Oilers for future Hall-of-Fame receiver Charlie Joiner and linebacker Ron Pritchard three days after they beat the Oilers, 30-7.
The Bengals are waiting to hear from an arbitrator if McCarron is an unrestricted or restricted free agent in March.
Cincinnati Bengals host Indianapolis Colts at Paul Brown Stadium in week 8 of the regular season.