The New Orleans Saints were looking to wiggle their way around cap limitations with a sign-and-trade, but it was denied by the NFL.
Pulling out all the tricks, the New Orleans Saints did everything they could to bring in defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. While they have Marcus Davenport and Cam Jordan, Clowney would give them a three-time Pro Bowl presence on the line.
The Saints did all they could, even sending coaches to Houston to have dinner with the star DE. What was holding Clowney up from signing in New Orleans was the financial limitations that the Saints had.
They couldn’t reach the full $15 million that the Titans were able to get to. They had a path to get there, but the NFL didn’t allow it to happen. They nixed the trade according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport.
“According to sources informed of the talks, the Saints didn’t feel they could compete financially with the Titans’ offer – $12 million, plus $3 million in incentives – given budgetary reasons. So, they approached another team to find a workaround,” Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport wrote for NFL.com.
Clowney got what he wanted in the $15 million for one year, but it didn’t seem like Tennessee was his first option. Finishing up his five-year rookie deal, Clowney may have truly preferred a long-term deal but the market for that was dry.
The Saints couldn’t match the $15 million total value despite doing everything that he could. Giving out huge contracts to Taysom Hill, Drew Brees Malcolm Jenkins, the Saints couldn’t clear the cap restrictions without the sign-and-trade.
“The sides discussed parameters of a deal in which Team X would’ve signed Clowney to a one-year, $15 million contract and paid him a $5 million signing bonus. Then, Team X would’ve immediately traded Clowney to the Saints, who would’ve sent Team X a second-round draft pick, as well as a player to take additional salary off New Orleans’ books. The Saints would’ve paid Clowney’s remaining $10 million salary.
“Just one problem: The teams got word late Saturday the NFL was unlikely to approve such a deal,” they continued.
The Browns were the team that the two mentioned in the article as “Team X” but they noted that wasn’t confirmed. It’s rather unprecedented to sign a free agent only to immediately trade them, one reason the NFL may have not wanted the trade to go through.
Clowney, who had nearly been a free agent for six months, is now a Titan, and after days of negotiations, he’ll be heading to Nashville. He should flourish with their line and help propel them to potentially another conference championship.
That said, his talents sadly won’t be in the Big Easy.