Jadeveon Clowney could make the Saints the Super Bowl favorites.
The New Orleans Saints already possess one of the better defensive lines in the NFC, featuring Marcus Davenport and Cameron Jordan, just to name a few. And despite their limited cap room at the moment, they’ve been linked with Jadeveon Clowney, who would take the Saints’ pass rush from good to elite in 2020.
The Saints estimated top-51 cap space sits at just $8 million, per Spotrac, and that alone won’t be enough to persuade Clowney to take his talents to the Bayou, even should he hope to take a discount to compete right away.
Could the New Orleans Saints sign Jadeveon Clowney?
Per Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network, the Saints are among the teams Clowney favors at this point in the offseason. Through months of exhausting negotiations, Clowney is no closer to signing than when this process began in February, as teams have shown little flexibility in potential long-term offers for the former No. 1 overall pick. There is some wiggle-room on a short-term deal, but as the Browns found out the hard way, that’s not necessarily in Clowney’s best interest. However, a one-year deal is about the only way the Saints can feasibly make this work.
The amount of money the Saints have tied into future contracts is concerning, but such is the case for any win-now franchise with a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback on the wrong side of 40. Drew Brees is year-to-year and signed to the most expensive contract on the team ($23 million cap hit).
That limits how much the Saints can build around him, and it’s the same reason they could be in a financial dilemma with Alvin Kamara moving forward. Adding Clowney to that mix on a deal of longer than one season wouldn’t help matters, and it’s likely why New Orleans hasn’t investigated such a possibility already.
As much potential as Davenport has alongside Jordan, he’s not the same overwhelming force as Clowney at this stage of his career. Assuming Clowney is fully healed from his core muscle injury this past season, the Saints could expect his sack and quarterback pressures numbers to increase dramatically and thus help Davenport take the next step in his development.
While it’s an appetizing thought, the only way the Saints can make this deal a reality is if Clowney is willing to take dramatically less money, or if he’s let his guard down on a short-term contract. If it’s the latter, New Orleans won’t be the only team interested.