The Saints were working with another team towards a unique sign-and-trade deal that would've maneuvered around salary cap constraints to bring the free-agent Clowney to New Orleans.
The sides discussed parameters of a deal in which Team X would've signed Clowney to a one-year, $15 million contract and paid him a $5 million signing bonus. Then, Team X would've immediately traded Clowney to the Saints, who would've sent Team X a second-round draft pick, as well as a player to take additional salary off New Orleans' books. The Saints would've paid Clowney's remaining $10 million salary.
Glad the league nixed it, but props for creativity.