The Cleveland Browns spent the majority of the offseason in an on-again, off-again attempt to sign free agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
The feeling was never really mutual, however, as Clowney continued to spurn the contract offers from general manager Andrew Berry, even though the Browns were reported to be offering the most cash.
Clowney is now off to the Tennessee Titans after agreeing to a one-year deal worth $12 million, with another $3 million in incentives.
But the Browns were still involved in one last push for Clowney - albeit in a unique way.
In addition to the Titans, the New Orleans Saints were very interested in Clowney but did not have the financial capacity to match Tennessee’s offer. But rather than simply give up, the Saints tried to get creative.
Which is where the Browns come in.
Why didn’t Jadeveon Clowney pick a team until late Saturday night? The #Saints were trying to pull off an unprecedented sign-and-trade deal to beat the #Titans’ offer -- but couldn’t get final clearance from the NFL. Details from me and @RapSheet: https://t.co/iEio6yfqar— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 6, 2020
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport, the Saints wanted to do a sign-and-trade deal with Clowney where another team would sign Clowney to a one-year deal worth $15 million, with a $5 million signing bonus, and then trade Clowney to the Saints for a second-round selection and a player.
While the identity of “Team X” is not known, Pelissero and Rapoport say that the Browns are “believed to be” the team that was willing to work with the Saints.
Problems arose, however, when word began to leak about the deal and both the Saints and “Team X” were told that the league office would not approve this type of trade because it was essentially a cash deal, which is not allowed up the league’s bylaws.
It is too bad that the deal did not go through as proposed. Given the way some people reacted when the Browns traded for a draft pick and quarterback Brock Osweiler’s $16 million guaranteed contract in 2017, it would have been fun to see the reaction to this deal.