Sean Payton: We felt like we got close on Jadeveon Clowney

The Saints missed out on signing Jadeveon Clowney, but it wasn’t for a lack of creativity.

Saints head coach Sean Payton confirmed that the team tried to work out a deal that would have seen another team, believed to be the Browns, sign Clowney and pay his signing bonus before trading him and the remainder of his salary to the Saints for a draft pick. The idea was to work around the Saints’ limited cap space by making a trade that hasn’t been seen in the NFL before.

On Monday, Payton said they asked the league if that would be kosher and the initial response was “very positive” before they ultimately ruled that it wouldn’t be allowed.

“We felt like we got close,” Payton said, via ESPN.com. “We weren’t able to match the money; and that’s one of the challenges each year, when you’re going after a player — what type of place do you have. [General Manager] Mickey [Loomis] and [vice president of football administration] 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. And 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 trade him to, and essentially then get a draft pick back.”

Clowney signed with the Titans over the weekend and Payton said the Saints would “move forward” without him.