Oh, Browns. They need a quarterback, and the Bengals were willing to deal backup AJ McCarron. But according to ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi, Cleveland didn’t get the deal done because it didn’t call it into the league office before the deadline.
Yes, the Browns flubbed a last-minute deal for a quarterback because of a reporting error.
The Browns argued that the proposed McCarron trade should be allowed to go through, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The league disagreed, and McCarron is staying with the Bengals. And the Bengals can’t be too happy about it, because they would have received a second- and third-round pick from the Browns in exchange for their backup, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Jim Owczarski.
McCarron isn’t Deshaun Watson, who the Browns could have drafted at No. 12 if they hadn’t traded the pick away to the Texans. He’s not Carson Wentz either, who didn’t even make the Browns’ list of top-20 prospects in 2016.
Nor is he Jimmy Garoppolo, who was traded to the 49ers by the Patriots on Monday night, and a player the Browns reportedly didn’t want to overpay for earlier in the year. But he is a veteran with some starting experience. McCarron played in seven games for the Bengals in 2015 and finished with 854 yards, six touchdowns, and two picks.
Jackson and McCarron have an existing relationship, and McCarron should be familiar with the Browns’ offensive scheme. Jackson was McCarron’s offensive coordinator in Cincinnati in 2014 and 2015 before being hired as the Browns’ head coach.
DeShone Kizer won the starting job in Cleveland this preseason, but costly red-zone turnovers have landed him on the bench twice in a three-game span. Jackson has tried both Kevin Hogan and Cody Kessler in the starting role, but neither has been able to pry it away from Kizer permanently.
Kizer’s struggles aren’t entirely his fault. The rookie was considered a raw prospect coming into the league, and he was expected to need time to develop into a viable starter. Kizer would benefit from having a veteran quarterback to learn behind. Now he knows exactly what the team really thinks of his ability.
So the Browns whiff on yet another quarterback, and in the process of doing so, further undermine Kizer.