The New Orleans Saints’ creativity extends beyond the playbook, the only problem is the NFL did not approve this particular play.
As the Saints made a heavy push for free agent Jadeveon Clowney, the team attempted to pull off a unique sign-and-trade scenario that would have had another team sign the Pro Bowl pass rusher and trade Clowney to the Saints, according to an NFL Network report.
Essentially, Team X – which was not identified in the report but is believed to be the Cleveland Browns – would have signed Clowney to a one-year, $15 million contract and pay him a $5 million signing bonus.
Team X would have then traded Clowney to the Saints for a second-round pick and another player to open up cap space, and the Saints would only have to pay Clowney $10 million.
The move would have guaranteed Clowney to get paid more than the one-year, $12 million deal plus $3 million in incentives the Titans gave him and allow him to fit within the Saints’ cap space.
The Saints, however, were informed on Saturday night that the NFL was unlikely to approve the deal, according to the report.
Several executives could not recall any such deal in the past where a team signed a free agent for the sole purpose of trading him. Teams have essentially paid cash for picks in the past, but one NFL exec said, “fundamentally, you can’t trade cash.”
The Saints continued to try and figure out a way to work Clowney’s contract into their budget, but ultimately could not match what the Titans were offering, and the pass rusher signed with Tennessee.