2. Trey Hendrickson
Losing Trey Hendrickson in 2021 hurt. Losing Trey Hendrickson in 2021 and seeing him flourish on his new team hurt even more.
The talented defensive end started his career in NOLA in 2017 and enjoyed a breakout season in his fourth and final year before leaving for Cincy. There, he proved his 13.5 sack season in 2020 was not in fact an anomaly and produced a whopping 14 sacks on the year as a Bengal. Earning a Pro Bowl in just his first year in Cincy and finishing with a 72.3 Pro Football Focus grade, Hendrickson quickly filled the gaping hole pass-rusher Carl Lawson left behind, and the Bengals know how lucky they are to have him.
The Saints may always consider him as “the one that got away,” but he left for the money, and he got his due in 2021. The Bengals signed him to a four-year, $60 million dollar contract in one of their most shrewdest moves of the offseason and never looked back.
Now, it’s the Saints who are looking back wondering if Hendrickson would have been worth the money. NOLA’s pass-rush last season lacked fangs, as veteran Cam Jordan only got hot toward the end of the season and promising players like Marcus Davenport and Payton Turner struggled to make an impact.
Whereas the Saints missed the postseason in 2021, Hendrickson couldn’t be happier on his Super Bowl-vying team, serving as a key member in the team’s stalwart run defense and putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks week after week. He and NOLA parted ways on amicable terms, so the Saints are mostly happy to see Hendrickson thriving in the black and orange.
Deep, deep, deep down, though, NOLA wishes Hendrickson hadn’t played so well on the Bengals this past season. When Hendrickson faces his former team in 2022, expect it to be a friendly — but ultra competitive — affair.