Baltimore had offered a second-round pick in exchange for Ngakoue before the Minnesota Vikings eventually finalized a deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars that sent a second- and a conditional fifth-round pick in exchange for the pass-rusher.
When that fell through, Jacksonville nearly helped the Ravens land Clowney through essentially a sign-and-trade.
"The Ravens and Jags hatched a deal that would have resulted in Jacksonville signing Clowney as a free agent, restructuring his contract and lowering it by paying out an initial signing bonus, and then trading the remainder of that contract to the Ravens in exchange for a draft pick," La Canfora reported.
The NFL ruled against allowing the transaction.
The Ravens were elite on both sides of the ball last year but ranked just 21st in the NFL in sacks. Adding either Ngakoue or Clowney, each earning Pro Bowl selections in their careers, would have been a significant upgrade off the edge.
However, the issue for Baltimore was the salary cap with a reported $6 million in free space.
Ngakoue took a pay cut under his $17.8 million franchise tag but still signed a one-year, $12 million deal with Minnesota. Clowney signed with the Tennessee Titans on a one-year deal worth $12 million with a max salary of $15 million.
These salaries put the Ravens out of the running, but they were still aggressive trying to improve the roster.
Baltimore also already had a relationship with the Jaguars this offseason, acquiring Calais Campbell in exchange for a fifth-round pick in March. Adding Ngakoue would have brought back together a pair that had a combined 61 sacks over the last three years in Jacksonville.
The Ravens will hope the current defense will be enough to contend for a Super Bowl title.