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Late paperwork nixed Browns' AJ McCarron trade

A paperwork mixup might have cost the Cleveland Browns a quarterback they possibly viewed as a franchise option.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday the Browns and the Bengals had agreed to a trade involving Cincinnati quarterback AJ McCarron, though the Browns filing paperwork past the 4 p.m. ET deadline nixed the deal, a league source told Pelissero.

ESPN first reported the news of the failed trade.

Per Pelissero, the Bengals turned in paperwork by the NFL's trade deadline Tuesday, but the Browns did not. The Browns argued it was close and there should be a grace period, Pelissero added, but paperwork must be filed to the league office by the 4 p.m. ET deadline, which kept McCarron in a Bengals uniform.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports the Bengals would have received a second- and third-round pick from the Browns in the 2018 NFL Draft.

McCarron, Andy Dalton's backup in Cincinnati, has shown starter potential when he's played in relief of Dalton and in preseason contests. In 10 career appearances, including three regular season starts and one playoff start when Dalton broke his thumb in 2015, McCarron completed 102 of his 160 pass attempts for 1,066 yards and seven touchdowns to three interceptions.

His play caused him to be the center of trade rumors with teams like the Browns for a few offseasons, but paperwork issues appear to have delayed those talks for at least another few months.

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