Sashi Brown denies sabotaging the Browns’ trade for AJ McCarron: ‘Wholly untrue’
There’s been a ton written on the Browns‘ failure to complete a trade for Bengals backup quarterback AJ McCarron before last Tuesday’s trade deadline. Finally, the Browns have told their side of the story.
McCarron is still the Bengals’ backup quarterback, but if things had gone just slightly differently, he would’ve been the Browns’ latest quarterback hope (admittedly, there have been a ton). Even though the Bengals and Browns agreed to a trade before the deadline, the trade didn’t process due to the Browns’ inability to send in their paperwork to the NFL on time. According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, “numerous coaches believe GM Sashi Brown had no intention of actually completing the agreed-upon trade.”
On Monday, Brown said the story is “a lot simpler than what’s been written.”
“It’s a lot simpler than what’s been written,” Brown said, per NFL.com. “Truly, this is just a matter of getting to a deal too late in the process. I think both sides, both Cincinnati and us, tried our damnedest to try to get the paperwork in at the last minute — we’re talking minutes and seconds before the trade deadline ended — we were on the phone with the NFL at the time to try to make it happen and it did not happen. I do think Cincinnati, in earnest, tried. I know we did everything humanly possible to get it done. It just didn’t happen. It is truly that simple.”
He also seemed to take the blame.
“They had our paperwork, we had theirs, and then it was incumbent upon us to send it in,” he said.
And perhaps more importantly, he denied sabotaging the deal.
“When you’re in this situation … things are going to get written that way. That’s wholly untrue,” Brown said. “I think we were all in there together — Hue, myself and a couple of other staff members that work on these things at the time we were trying to get the trade done — so I’m not worried about that internally. Externally, I can just put it to bed. That’s just not the case. Nothing we would ever do to try to make up a trade, to sabotage a trade, it just wouldn’t make any sense.”
For context, here’s what La Canfora reported on Sunday about Hue Jackson’s relationship with Brown and how some coaches believe Brown sabotaged the trade:
The gulf between Jackson and Brown is well known throughout the league, and some coaches believe the front office “sabotaged” the McCarron trade. The Browns are well aware of the procedures required to complete trades, and several rival executives noted that Brown’s assistant, Chris Cooper, has deep experience in all minutia from his time working directly on the NFL’s Management Council.
For what it’s worth, when Jackson was given a chance to put an end to the idea that he has a shaky relationship with the front office, he didn’t take it, declining to comment instead.
So to sum up: According to Brown, the Browns didn’t intentionally fail to complete their trade. Instead, they accidentally failed to complete their trade.
The sad part is, I’m not sure what would’ve been worse: The Browns actually intending to give up a second and third-round pick for a career backup quarterback and messing it up by not completing their paperwork on time, or the Browns’ GM sabotaging the deal because he knew how awful it was. Probably the former given how awful that deal would’ve been considering the 49ers gave up less for Jimmy Garoppolo and McCarron hasn’t shown many — if any — signs that he’s a future franchise quarterback.
Anyway, in case you were wondering, there’s a very real chance that neither Brown nor Jackson are back next year. La Canfora reports:
The Browns have just one victory since Jackson and Brown took over their respective positions prior to the 2016 season, and league sources said ownership has already starting talking internally about how to move forward with a new regime in 2018. Owner Jimmy Haslam’s son-in-law, JW Johnson, has continued to take a more hands-on role with the club, sources said, and he will be an integral figure in the reshuffling of the franchise, along with Haslam’s wife, Dee, who is considered by many inside and outside of the organization to be the most powerful figure in the Browns hierarchy.
It’s worth pointing out that both the front office and the coaching staff is to blame for the Browns’ struggles. It’s Jackson’s fault for mismanaging the quarterback situation as he continues to name DeShone Kizer the starter before continually benching him. And it’s the front office’s fault for failing to put quality players on the field and passing on two franchise quarterbacks, Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson, in the past two drafts.
I feel for Jackson, who doesn’t have an NFL-caliber team to coach. And I feel for the front office, which is prioritizing the long-term and sacrificing the short-term with its strategy of stockpiling draft picks and as a result, isn’t fielding an NFL-caliber team this season. The Browns are a mess on multiple levels. And there probably isn’t one easy solution to turn them around.
One silver-lining? McCarron likely wasn’t Cleveland’s savior. So regardless of why the trade failed, it was probably the best thing to happen to the Browns since … I actually can’t remember the last time something good happened to the Browns.
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