Report: Saints had sign-and-trade for Jadeveon Clowney blocked by NFL
The New Orleans Saints desperately wanted to sign Jadeveon Clowney before the star defensive lineman ended up with the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night — they just simply couldn’t come up with the funds.
Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported on Sunday that the Saints tried to pull off an unprecedented sign-and-trade that would have freed up enough salary cap space for them to sign Clowney. The NFL would not allow the deal, however, at which point Clowney signed with the Titans.
The Saints tried to get a second team (believed to be the Cleveland Browns) involved in their pursuit of Clowney. They discussed a deal in which the second team would have signed Clowney to a one-year, $15 million contract that included a $5 million signing bonus. That team would then trade Clowney to the Saints in exchange for a second-round draft pick and a player from New Orleans in order to dump salary. New Orleans would have then only been on the hook for $10 million.
The deal would have amounted to the second team paying $5 million for a draft pick, which is not a totally foreign concept in the NFL. One example was when the Browns agreed to take on Brock Osweiler’s $16 million salary in 2017 in order to acquire a second-round pick. It makes sense, then, that Cleveland would have been interested in a similar deal to help the Saints land Clowney.
Ultimately, the sign-and-trade would have circumvented the salary cap. That’s why they are never seen in the NFL.
Clowney’s deal with the Titans is worth up to $15 million. It reportedly includes a $13 million base salary and $2 million in incentives.
Clowney was reportedly advised to wait until a certain point to sign with a team, but the Saints’ attempt to pull off a sign-and-trade dragged things out even further. Clowney also supposedly turned down multiple offers earlier in the offseason worth more than he got, so you have to wonder if he regrets the way he handled his free agency.