Saints tried “sign and trade” deal for Clowney, offered a pick for other team to take cap hit

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The Saints got creative in their pursuit of free agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, attempting an unusual move that would have seen another team sign Clowney first, pay him a bonus that would go on that team’s salary cap, and then trade him to the Saints.

It didn’t work out and Clowney signed with the Titans instead, but the Saints were trying to make it work until the very end.

NFL Network reports that the Saints and another team (believed to be the Browns) worked out an agreement where that other team would sign Clowney to a one-year contract with a $5 million signing bonus and a $10 million base salary. Then that other team would pay Clowney his signing bonus and immediately trade him to the Saints for a second-round draft pick.

In other words, the Saints would trade a second-round pick to the Browns for $5 million in cap space. The Browns have done something similar in the past, agreeing to trade for Brock Osweiler and a second-round pick, knowing that Osweiler wasn’t really in their plans but getting the second-round pick in exchange for taking Osweiler’s $16 million guaranteed salary off the Texans’ hands.

However, the proposed Clowney deal was somewhat different, and it’s not clear whether the NFL would have allowed it.

So Clowney is a Titan, the Saints kept their second-round draft pick, and the Browns kept the $5 million they would have given up. Trades like this have been done in other sports and could make sense in the NFL, and the league office ought to offer a definitive ruling about whether such a trade would be approved, as all teams and players should know the rules they’re operating under. This trade didn’t happen, but perhaps a similar trade could happen in the future, where a cap-strapped team finds a creative way to sign a player.

30 responses to “Saints tried “sign and trade” deal for Clowney, offered a pick for other team to take cap hit

  1. Loomis is the masters of cap finagling, though it appears Brett Veach is making a name for himself in that regard.

  2. Bold move but considering they’re in a win now year it had to be done. Considering they’re about the drop into a cap abyss next year and loss quite a bit of their young talent this might be the last year we see the Saints competitive for a while.

  3. Saints have done this already on a smaller scale with the Ellerbe trade a few years ago.

  4. So if I’m reading this right, the Browns would have essentially been paying $5 million to buy the Saints second round pick. Creative. But I do think the NFL might have an issue with that.

  5. A second round pick for $5 million dollars and you get a player who doesn’t move the needle? The Saints dodged a bullet here.

  6. If the Saints had done this, the NFL would have stripped the Saints of their FIRST ROUND draft pick next year and docked them $10 million in Salary Cap room. Anybody really think the NFL head office would have allowed the SAINTS to do this? Really?

  7. The Browns coulda kept him for week 1, inactive as he wont get in til wednesday per testing, then traded him while paying the bonus plus 1 week salary. Brilliant by the Browns and Saints if they woulda pulled it off.

    The Osweiler move netted the Browns Nick Chubb…who’s laughing now?

  8. And how can the NFL nix it…if you draft a player then trade him, you are essentially trading cash (i.e. – eli manning / phillip rivers).

  9. Glad it didn’t happen. The NFL AT THIS time cant deal with CREATIVE manipution of the rules at this time. Let’s just try and get through 2020.

  10. This is interesting. What are they going to do about Kamara? And they also have the two tackles and lattimore at corner they have to pay. They are big trouble next year.

  11. So it could just be exactly what Clowney said. He had two offers, if he meets incentives he gets the same $15 million from either situation. But, he was at his best in 2017 with Mike Vrabel as his DC. He is already familiar with that defense and it could be he saw that he could put up better stats in that defense (3-4) than in NO for a much larger contract next season. The “trade” may have been fine, but the “player” may have made the choice. Next year, the Titans have a lot of money rolling off their CAP and will be in a position to grant him what he wants long-term if he earns it this year. The Saints? They are going to be significantly strapped next year where some big decisions are going to have to be made.

  12. whateverworks77 says:

    September 6, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    And how can the NFL nix it…if you draft a player then trade him, you are essentially trading cash (i.e. – eli manning / phillip rivers).

    ——-

    No not even close. Your not essentially trading cash or anything close to it. When draft picks are dealt, like the ones you mention, they never signed a contract with the original team and the original team paid nothing to anyone.

  13. sfsaintsfan says:
    September 6, 2020 at 4:38 pm
    If the Saints had done this, the NFL would have stripped the Saints of their FIRST ROUND draft pick next year and docked them $10 million in Salary Cap room. Anybody really think the NFL head office would have allowed the SAINTS to do this? Really
    ———————————————————————
    Please revisit the trade of Brock Osweiler between the Texans and the Browns. Really.

  14. Wouldn’t need to do any of this is the Saints were not paying a third string qb more then 10 million a year.

  15. It’s interesting that top10 defenses were chasing him. Both the a saints and Titans are top10 in my book. And, the Browns are not far off… at least in talent.

    It looks like both teams are all in this season.

  16. wattaclowney says:

    September 6, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    Wouldn’t need to do any of this is the Saints were not paying a third string qb more then 10 million a year.

    ———

    Always fun when the uninformed join in. Winston cap hit is under 3, Hill is under 5 and Brees is under 24. So please tell me what team would Brees be a 3rd string qb on since hes the only 1 making over 10(even Winston and Hill combined are under 8)

  17. “ maxamili says:
    September 6, 2020 at 8:32 pm
    Don’t know how’s this was any different with the osweiller trade with Texans and browns.“

    Texans were trying to unload cap space vs cutting Brock.

    Saints were trying to sign a player they didn’t have using another team to do it.

    In the first case the texans were going to get rid of brock no matter what, in the second case Saints couldn’t sign Clowny without another team.

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