Sean Payton felt Saints 'got close' to signing DE Jadeveon Clowney

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Saints head coach Sean Payton said he felt like New Orleans “got close” to signing pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney over the weekend before the three-time Pro Bowler signed with the Tennessee Titans Sunday.

“We weren’t able to match the money,” Payton said. “And that’s one of the challenges each year when you’re going after a player with the space you have."

“I thought Mickey (Loomis) and Khai (Harley) and those guys did a great job of really spending time with his representation. In the meantime, we had a good visit when we went out to see him.” 

The former South Carolina star signed a one-year deal with the Titans that’s reportedly worth up to $15 million.  Payton said the team tried to get creative in order to make a potential signing of Clowney work finnacially, but their plan was rejected by the NFL.

“It was one thought, just creatively, relative to essentially having a team sign a player, take some of the financial burden away from the team they’d trade him to and essentially they’d get a draft pick back,” he said. “The first response we got really from the league, we felt, was fairly positive. 

“And then, ultimately, they decided against it, so we moved forward.”