Salary Cap Chess – Signing and Trading Jadeveon Clowney
New Browns general manager Andrew Berry almost pulled off another move in salary cap chess. Except this time, NFL executives refused to approve the deal.
There is a fear of things that are new or different. When someone or a team innovates, other teams try to eliminate that innovation. It is human nature to be afraid of changes, adaptation, and the need to squash those changes seem natural.
Of course, the Browns have been leading innovators in the NFL. Paul Brown invented the facemask and the huddle. He even put radios in helmets to facilitate player to sideline communication in the 1950s!
Now the Browns are believed to be Team X in the recent attempt to sign and trade Jadeveon Clowney. The proposed trade is as follows.
Team X would sign Jadeveon Clowney. They would give him a $15 million total contract with $5 million being a signing bonus.
Once signed, they would trade Clowney to the Saints for a player whose cap number is roughly $5 million and a second-round draft pick. This would put Clowney’s actual cap number at $10 million because Team X would have to eat the signing bonus on their salary cap. Further, the Saints would eliminate $5 million off their cap to Team X in the form of a player. In this way, Clowney would have fit under the Saints salary cap.
In exchange for this the Saints would send Team X a second-round draft pick. In this scenario, the Saints are playing cap checkers by trying to spend the max of their cap. But Team X is using their salary cap space as a commodity to be manipulated for a price. In short, Team X is playing cap chess.
But the NFL refused to approve this deal. It is believed the NFL is concerned about trading salary cap space. The NFL does not want salary cap chess. It is even unclear if NFL executives even understand what the Browns/Team X is even doing.