In this series we recall some of the New Orleans Saints veteran free agent signings over the past decade and look back at the impact they made, if any, in their short stay in New Orleans.
Today’s subject is defensive tackle Kendrick Clancy. Clancy signed a three-year contract with the Saints in June of 2007 to bolster the interior or their defensive line. Clancy was brought in to shore up a Saints run defense that gave up, on average, nearly 130 yards-per-game and 5 yards-per-carry during the 2006 season. Incumbent defensive tackles, Hollis Thomas and Brian Young just weren't enough on the defensive interior and Clancy was expected to be the difference-maker the team needed.
Before coming to New Orleans, Clancy was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 3rd Round of the 2000 Draft out of Ole Miss. After five seasons in Pittsburgh, he signed with the New York Giants as a free agent in 2005. One year later, Clancy signed with the Arizona Cardinals. This stay was a short one as well, as Clancy’s contract was terminated following his refusal to take a pay cut following the 2006 season.
During the 2007 offseason, Mickey Loomis acted fast in signing Clancy mere days following his release from the Cardinals. The Saints needed more than what they had, to stuff the run, eat blockers, and anchor the line. Although popular expectations of Clancy were not to supplant the aforementioned Thomas or Young upon his signing, he was expected to provide the depth and ability sorely needed at the heart of the Saints defense.
Clancy’s first season in New Orleans was hardly anything to get excited about, but in his second year, things began to really look up. In 2008, Clancy had the second-best season of his career, only bested by his 2005 season with the Giants. In his first two seasons with the Saints, Clancy played in 28 games with 49 combined tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 3 passes defended.
Things did improve along the line with Clancy in the rotation. He was brought in to stuff the run, and the Saints’ run stats improved from 2006. In 2007, the Saints run defense gave up, on average, nearly 103 yards-per-game and 4 yards-per-carry, and in 2008, they gave up, on average, nearly 118 yards-per-game and just over 4 yards-per-carry, both seasons better than before Clancy’s arrival.
Following his improved 2008 campaign, it was expected Clancy would start alongside second-year standout Sedrick Ellis at defensive tackle, especially following the releases of former starters Hollis Thomas and Brian Young. Clancy played the first two games of the Saints’ Super Bowl season in 2009 but had to be placed on the season-ending injured reserve list following the Saints’ Week 2 win against the Atlanta Falcons.
Unfortunately, this knee injury cut Clancy’s career in New Orleans short. He waste-signed by the team following microfracture surgery on his knee, but this short-lived comeback never came together. The black and gold would be the last uniform he would ever wear in the NFL. (A terrible recurring theme we see in this series).
Kendrick Clancy was a Short-Term Saint that fell a bit short of expectations during his “cup of coffee” in New Orleans. It’s not that Clancy is disliked among Saints fans, it’s just that he’s frankly not mentioned. Before injuring his knee, he could’ve been a key contributor to the Saints 2009 Super Bowl season and beyond, but it wasn't meant to go that way. Kendrick Clancy unfortunately represents that old story of a player that could've done more if not for injury.
What type of impact did you expect from Clancy when he first signed?
This poll is closed
He would be a starter on the defensive line
He would contribute in rotational depth
He would have little impact but serve as a mentor
He would be lucky to even make the roster