The joys of being a Cleveland Browns fan. Yet again our beloved franchise would appear to have fueled the fire of ridicule by, apparently, attempting to trade for AJ McCarron, the backup QB of the Cincinnati Bengals.

So, what happened?

Yesterday was trade deadline day in the NFL which meant that all teams had to have their trades signed, sealed and delivered to the NFL office by 4pm ET. Things looked to be going smoothly within the league until the Cleveland Clowns decided to get involved.

Their target was one of Hue Jackson’s old colleagues, quarterback AJ McCarron.

I don’t know about you but to me, this all seems very weird. I know most people will say that it’s the Browns being the Browns but surely the FO isn’t so incompetent that they forget to hand in signed paperwork, right?

After a lot of speculation and reporters trying to be the first with the news and getting it wrong, it appears that it was, in fact, the Browns who didn’t submit the required signed paperwork. Now, some reports are saying that they agreed to the deal at 3:55pm but missed the 4pm trade deadline to get all the signed paperwork in. One analyst, Tony Grossi tweeted that the Browns were busy celebrating the deal and forgot to file the paperwork. I don’t take much interest in what the guy says as he’s just negative all the time and has been proven wrong on so many things and is a hindsight-man. He’s now slagging the Browns off for passing on DeShaun Watson even though he himself wrote him off before the draft.

Apparently, the narrative now is that the Browns’ FO never intended to do the McCarron deal and whiffed on purpose as some form of distraction from the fact that they went home at 5pm on the day before the trade deadline and never pursued a Jimmy Garoppolo deal (or any others) unlike the San Francisco 49ers who now have their man at QB and can use the off-season to install pieces around him.

My gut feeling, for what it’s worth

I can’t help but think that the reported rift between the Browns coaches and FO is so cavernous that the coaches tried going behind the front office’s back in an attempt to get a QB they think could possibly save them their jobs.

Reports emerged the day before the deadline that coaches were furious that they were still at the facility working whilst the FO went home at 5pm as the trade deadline approached. Because of this, I wouldn’t be surprised if the coaching staff tried to get the deal done and agreed to the ludicrously high demands of the Bengals for the QB only to have Sashi Brown or Jimmy Haslam refuse to sign the deal.

Let’s be honest, what have the coaches got to lose if that deal had been done? If McCarron had come to Cleveland and looked good, the coaches could have come out and admitted the deal of McCarron for 2018 2nd and 3rd round draft picks was their idea and they’d have looked like they didn’t give up too much for him. If the QB had come in and been crap, the coaching staff would have definitely been sacked so they wouldn’t have cared that they wasted two high draft picks on a bust. If this scenario is true, I say well done to the FO for sticking to their plan of using their stash of draft picks in the off-season and not now when the season is already done.

A 2nd AND 3rd round pick for a backup QB, sheesh…desperate times for the coaches as they try to save their jobs.

Sort it out Jimmy!

This is obviously just speculation on my part, but it really does smack of desperation as people try to save their jobs and after the going home at 5pm spat, I wouldn’t be surprised if the coaching staff decided to do it themselves. If this is the case, it’s obvious that the FO and coaching staff aren’t on the same page with how this team should be built. It is without a doubt time to bring in a good, strong GM who demands respect and who can either unite the different factions or make the necessary changes.

If one lot has to go, I’m afraid I’d say keep the analytics guys but have them in an advisory role only. Would they relinquish the authority they have right now and take that advisory-only role? I very much doubt it but I don’t believe they can be allowed to continue to select which players come to the team and go against what the coaches want. This is why a ‘football guy’ needs to come in as GM to get the balance right.

If this team is indeed in full rebuild mode, then I think Sashi Brown has done well to get all those picks but I just don’t think he should have final say on who those picks are used. Right now, I believe that the Browns should just stick with DeShone Kizer at QB and see how he pans out. I for one am so very glad that this deal didn’t get done as a 2nd and 3rd round pick for AJ McCarron is just too much. Whatever the reason(s) for the deal not getting done, I believe the Browns dodged making a big mistake and even more ridicule down the line.