Alabama in the Pros

Browns botch opportunity to land former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron

Brian Spurlock - USA TODAY Sports

Even when the Cleveland Browns want to do right, the organization goes about getting what it wants the wrong way.

After enduring years of mediocrity at the quarterback position, the Browns had a chance to re-write its fate today prior to the end of the NFL trade deadline. 

With multiple players on the move, Cleveland wanted to work out a deal with the Cincinnati Bengals in getting former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron to the “Dawg Pound.”  

Despite having high hopes for DeShone Kizer and carrying both Kevin Hogan and Cody Kessler on the roster, the Browns are winless in first eight games and are in need of a change.

During a series of tweets from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, Cleveland knew what it wanted but waited to the last minute in wanting to approve the trade.

Per Schefter citing sources, the Bengals approved the trade to the NFL by 3:55 p.m., while the Browns did not confirm on its end. 

Now in his fourth NFL season, McCarron is regarded as one of the top backup quarterbacks in the league. When he returned in 2015 after suffering an injury to his throwing shoulder, the former fifth-round pick threw for 854 yards with six touchdowns to two interceptions in seven games. When Andy Dalton injured his thumb late in the 2015 season, McCarron emerged and guided the team into the playoffs. He didn’t have his best showing versus Pittsburgh in the AFC Wild Card game in 2016, however, he put the Bengals in the best spot to win. 

If it had not been for boneheaded mistakes from linebacker Vontaze Burfict and cornerback Adam Jones, McCarron would have been the first ex-Crimson Tide signal caller since Richard Todd (1982, New York Jets) to lead an NFL team to a playoff win. 

During his five years at Alabama, he was nothing other than a winner. 

McCarron was 36-4 as a starter, while turning 9,019 career passing yards and 77 touchdown passes – both stand as school records. He would also guide the Tide to two BCS national championships (2011, 2012) and a Southeastern Conference title (2012) as a starter. 

A native of Mobile, Ala., he has a linebacker’s mentality at quarterback. Seeing that he has an ability to make everyone around him better, a team will make itself known to want him soon. 

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

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