Yes, the Saints inquired with the league about the possibility of a sign-and-trade that would have allowed them to get defensive end Jadeveon Clowney by purchasing via draft-pick compensation the extra cash and cap space needed to get the deal done. The league said that it would not authorize the move. However, that’s not the end of the story.
Per multiple sources, if the league had given the green light to the sign-and-trade concept, Clowney would have ended up not with the Saints but with the Baltimore Ravens.
From New Orleans’ perspective, the Browns would have signed Clowney and traded him to the Saints. From Baltimore’s perspective, the Jaguars would have signed Clowney and traded him to the Ravens.
Once the league told the Saints that it couldn’t happen, the strategy was abandoned. If a different answer had been obtained, the Saints would have found out soon thereafter that the Jaguars would have been signing Clowney, and that the Jaguars would have been trading him to Baltimore.