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


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.”