As a Bengals fan, I should be pissed. The Bengals have reportedly lost out on a chance to obtain two prime assets - a second and third round pick in next year's draft - in exchange for a guy who never plays, but the deal fell through.
Originally, there were reports that the trade didn't happen because the Browns couldn't get the required paperwork to the NFL in time for today's 4pm eastern time deadline.
Then, it was reported that the Bengals sent the NFL the wrong paperwork, which killed the deal.
Multiple sources said that the Bengals emailed their signed paperwork to the NFL before 4 p.m. and the Browns did not. The Bengals also copied the Browns on the signed document they emailed to the NFL.
Several league sources told cleveland.com that separate documents from each team -- signed only by that team -- constitutes a trade. Bottom line: the league never received anything with the Browns signature on it.
Which also begs the question -- did the Browns really want to execute the deal in the end? (Note: This is a very, very good question.)
Another league source said the Browns sent a signed document to the Bengals and expected them to also sign it and send it to the NFL. But a Bengals spokesman told cleveland.com that the Bengals never received any paperwork from the Browns and that they executed their end of the bargain, and that the league office confirmed that they did.
The thing is, I'm not pissed. I'm amused at both the he-said/he-said nature of this and the visual of a deal not getting done because some simple administrative procedures couldn't be followed. I'm addicted to this story. I want more of this story. Even if it means that this story won't end with my team getting draft picks that are more valuable (until Andy Dalton gets mauled behind an offensive line that can't block) than their current backup QB.