The Jadeveon Clowney sweepstakes is now rumored to be a three-team race, and one contender is putting everything on the table in an effort to sign the star defensive end.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero says that "the Saints are sending an all-out blitz" in an attempt to bring the three-time Pro Bowler to New Orleans, including talks between head coach Sean Payton and Clowney as well as visits from coaches to Clowney's residence in Houston (via Dianna Russini of ESPN).
It's a scary thought: Clowney lined up alongside sack artist Cam Jordan -- who ranked at No. 20 in RADIO.COM Sports' countdown of the best players in the NFL -- to help bolster a Saints' front seven that ranked third in sacks and held opponents to the fourth fewest rushing yards in 2019.
The Saints have a smidge under $7 million in cap space as the roster currently stands, though NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported that the team has been working to restructure the contracts of several players in an effort to make room for Clowney. Even if they are able to make room, the future appears to be murky in terms of their cap situation. They are currently set to be more than $37 million over the cap in 2021, and that's without considering potential changes to the salary cap after the coronavirus's impact on the league's finances, as frequent RADIO.COM guest Chad Forbes points out.
Pelissero additionally mentioned two other interested teams in his report, and Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk pinned them as the Titans and the Seahawks, Clowney's former team.
The Browns were reportedly out of the race as early as July, but Pete Smith of Sports Illustrated says that they can still be considered a contender. However, it's more likely that they want to leave their 2021 cap situation as friendly as possible, making the move unlikely.
Clowney, 27, only recorded three sacks in 2019 but was as disruptive a force as ever up front -- Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus mentions that judging someone by their sack total is a "terrible way of judging a pass-rusher." He was ranked No. 41 by his peers on the 2020 NFL Top 100 list, the highest of any player who is still a free agent with only days to go until the season gets underway.