Saints tried to pull of a sign-and-trade for Jadeveon Clowney

The New Orleans Saints had to get creative if they wanted to get Jadeveon Clowney, including pursuing a first of its kind move in the NFL.

With little cap space, and certainly not enough to sign him straight-away, the New Orleans Saints had to be creative if they wanted Jadeveon Clowney. According to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, their final push on Saturday night included the pursuit of a move believed to be the first of its kind in NFL history.

The Saints were reportedly working with another team on a sign-and trade for Clowney, to maneuver around salary cap constraints. That other team, though unconfirmed, is believed to be the Cleveland Browns. With ample cap space, the Browns had been a rumored suitor for Clowney themselves.

The Saints really wanted Clowney

The proposed one-year deal the Browns would have signed Clowney to would have been for $15 million, with a $5 million signing bonus and a $10 million base salary. Cleveland would have paid the signing bonus, taking it on their cap for 2020, then immediately traded Clowney to the Saints for a second-round pick.

Per Rapoport and Pelissero, the teams were informed late Saturday that the league was unlikely to approve such a move. Teams have essentially paid for picks before (see the Browns taking on Brock Osweiler’s’ $16 million in a deal that got them a second-round pick). The Texans paid part of Clowney’s money just last year to pave the way for the trade to the Seahawks. But an NBA-style sign-and-trade is different, with no clear rule in the NFL necessarily barring such a move.

Clowney ultimately chose the Tennessee Titans, and they are a better fit. But the Saints are all-in for 2020, as Drew Brees enters what may be his final season and with salary cap purgatory looming in 2021. So you have to admire the effort to add Clowney, even if it always felt fruitless.

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