Marvin Lewis was aboard when Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown informed him of plans to trade backup quarterback AJ McCarron to the Cleveland Browns for 2018 second- and third-round draft picks last Tuesday.

But the Bengals’ coach makes no attempt to hide his joy over the fact the deal didn’t get done. He said he doesn’t know what happened, although it has been widely reported the Browns didn’t submit their end of the transaction to the NFL before the trade deadline expired.

‘Having AJ here, we’re blessed. He’s such a good, big part of the football team’

For Lewis, the details matter less than the fact the Bengals get to keep McCarron at least through the balance of the season.

“I was somewhat relieved, because you have other plans in motion to fill that void,” Lewis told Russ Tucker and Ed McCaffrey on the Opening Drive. “But having AJ here, we’re blessed. He’s such a good, big part of the football team, a big part of just the mentorship of the young players and the guys on offense when they’re not in practice, him explaining to the young receivers. He just does a great job.

‘I’m glad he’s here for the rest of this season, for sure’

“I really believe he’s going to be a very, very productive NFL quarterback and have a great career and I’m glad he’s here for the rest of this season, for sure. … In my opinion, we continue to benefit with having AJ here.”

Lewis said the amount of compensation the Bengals sought for McCarron shows “how we feel about AJ and the value that he has, but yet giving him the opportunity to possibly go and play for another club. But the problem with that is it’s in our division and that’s the point that (Brown) has tried to make from the start, that it’s not his responsibility to help a team within the division improve. So that’s what there was a premium (to be) paid.

‘You don’t want to give someone a player and have to look at him twice a year’

“If you notice the trades that were done, they weren’t even done within the conferences. They were done across conferences, AFC to NFC, NFC to AFC, because you don’t want to give someone a player and have to look him twice a year. Every four years is OK, but you don’t want to have to look at him every year benefitting the club that you’re competing with.”

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