Free agent edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney reportedly wanted to join the Baltimore Ravens, who were willing to go to extreme lengths to land him.
The Jadeveon Clowney sweepstakes reached its conclusion this past weekend after months of negotiating and uncertainty. Last Thursday, the race came down to the New Orleans Saints and Tennessee Titans, with the AFC South squad successfully securing his services for this season. As it turns out, the Saints tried to acquire Clowney through a sign-and-trade with the Cleveland Browns, but the NFL refused to authorize that type of transaction. As it turns out, they weren’t the only team trying to use that tactic.
According to Pro Football Talk, the Baltimore Ravens were attempting to use the sign-and-trade strategy to bring in Clowney. If the league had given the thumbs up for the move, Clowney would have signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who would then immediately flip him to the Ravens. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport confirmed Pro Football Talk’s report on Monday.
Jacksonville were going to take on Clowney’s cap hit
Why were the Ravens and Saints trying to secure Clowney’s services in an NBA-style transaction? Neither team wanted to take the brunt of his cap hit. It’s obvious why the Saints were looking to use this loophole, because they rank at the bottom of the league in total cap space. Meanwhile, Baltimore had over $16 million available. Come on, you’d try to take a similar route if it meant saving money.
Considering the Jaguars and Browns have the most cap space in the league, those teams would have eaten Clowney’s signing bonus in exchange for at least one NFL Draft pick and a player. The office of commissioner Roger Goodell nixed this idea, not wanting to enter NBA-levels of confusion.
Even though Clowney was trying to find a way to join the Ravens, the offer given to him by the Titans was too good to refuse. For one season, Tennessee is giving him a total of $15 million if all contract incentives are met. Additionally, the Titans promised Clowney that they wouldn’t place the franchise tag on him after the season, ensuring he can enter free agency.
The Ravens tried to get Clowney, but they couldn’t match Tennessee’s offer. Despite missing out on the top edge rusher on the open market, the Ravens are still in good shape defensively entering this season.