Thursday, November 2, 2017

The trade charade

The more that is unearthed about the trade that wasn’t a trade, a.k.a. the Great Ohio Pro Football Fiasco, the more I believe this was nothing more than a charade wrapped around a power play by the folks who work at 76 Lou Groza Blvd. in Berea.

The Browns and Cincinnati Bengals have been in the National Football League long enough to know how the league works when it comes to consummating trades. It is not that difficult.

So why and how did the Browns and Bengals screw up a simple trade Tuesday afternoon? Why is AJ McCarron still the backup quarterback in Cincinnati? And why is the rest of the pro football world laughing at the Browns?

After all I have heard and read about what happened, I am thoroughly convinced this was nothing more than an outgrowth of a civil war within the Browns’ organization and the Bengals were the victims.

Without really knowing exactly what goes on behind closed doors in Berea, it has been reported on several different fronts that a divide, philosophical or otherwise, exists between de facto general manager Sashi Brown and head coach Hue Jackson. It, of course, has been denied. All the more reason to believe it is true.

Brown and his minions are in charge of the 53-man roster. Jackson and his coaches are in charge of making certain those 53 players are ready to play a game of football on 16 Sundays during the regular season.

How that roster is shaped from day to day and week to week is thought to be a consensus opinion of these two men. But there have been differences, which is not out of the norm.

Brown and his guys have made personnel changes in the past that have been met with displeasure by the coaching staff. Case in point: Trading linebacker Demario Davis to the New York Jets in the offseason for safety Calvin Pryor. Davis is by far the Jets’ leading tackler this season. Pryor was cut after a training camp incident.

It has been reported that deal did not sit well with the coaching staff, most notably defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

Jackson lobbied Brown to seek a trade for the Bengals’ McCarron after efforts to pry Jimmy Garoppolo loose from New England failed repeatedly. Brown finally acquiesced and hooked up with the Bengals on trade-deadline day Tuesday.

In what would have been the first trade between these two Ohio teams that are rivals in more ways than one, Brown, after some haggling, finally agreed to part with one of the club’s three second-round picks and their third-rounder next year for McCarron to mollify his coach.

Seemed like an extremely expensive price to pay for a career backup to come to a team that already had three young quarterbacks. But Jimmy Haslam III reportedly was on board and endorsed the deal.

Here’s where it gets dicey. And a little fishy.

The Browns supposedly sent their paperwork to the Bengals, who then filed their properly signed paperwork to the NFL a few minutes before the 4 p.m. trade deadline and then notified the league. That much has been established.

The Browns, who should have known better, relied on the Bengals to send their (Cleveland’s) paperwork to the league (without a proper signature) and notify the league.

When all proper measures to finalize a trade were not taken by the Browns, the NFL correctly declared no deal.

Brown has been around the NFL long enough to know how to successfully consummate a trade. And he has been around long enough to know what it takes to conveniently mess it up.

Of course he is not going to admit it was a ploy all along. A conspiracy theorist, though, would strongly suggest Brown knew exactly what he was doing. He knew the league would turn it down. It was a subtle, but direct shot at his coach.

Jackson wanted this deal in the worst way. He knew the three young men currently in the quarterbacks room gave him practically zero chance of winning a game this season. He needed McCarron, who is familiar with his system from their days in Cincinnati and was his only hope of extracting one or two victories this season.

So when the NFL rejected the deal, Brown followed proper procedure and appealed to allow the deal to go through, all the while probably knowing it wouldbe futile. The rejection was almost immediate.

Scorecard for this little exercise: Sashi Brown – winner; Hue Jackson – loser; Dee and Jimmy Haslam – baffled.

Call me naïve, but I believe this was nothing more than a charade that looked credible to the casual observer, but a lot more devious to those who know how things work in the NFL.


  1. They need to give up on this idea that Jackson is some kind of QB Guru/Whisperer. Look at his choices, RGIII, Kessler, Kizer(Hogan is just a victim of attrition). But the bottom line is that this organization has fallen into total dysfunction and the gap is widening(actually exploding). Think they're glad they got rid of McCown?

  2. Stop talking like that, Bill. I'm beginning to agree with you. (Hope my sarcasm isn't showing.)

    As for getting rid of McCown, no, I don't think they regret that move.

  3. I don't understand all the excitement about Josh Gordon. We still don't have a QB that can throw to him. He'll be just another one of our wasted talents. And, BTW, McCown is better than anything we currently have, so if they don't regret the move, they are just as stupid as I'm beginning to believe they are.

    1. What took you so long to come around? They have been stupid for a long time.

      And McCown is nothing more than an NFL vagabond, a journeyman.

      As for Gordon, the reason fans seem to be excited is because of what he did four years ago and the fact that anyone will be better than what they have now.