Saints could make surprise trade for cornerback C.J. Henderson
By Kristen Wong
The NFL trade market doesn’t sleep, and neither does the front office of the New Orleans Saints.
The Jacksonville Jaguars appear to be shopping one of its top prospects in cornerback C.J. Henderson, and count New Orleans as interested. It doesn’t matter that the Saints just found a new secondary toy in veteran Brian Poole. They want more.
It’s most unexpected from the Jaguars, who selected Henderson with the ninth-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Just one year into Henderson’s rookie deal, Jacksonville is reportedly open to taking offers for the corner, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
There’s apparently no bad blood between Henderson and Jacksonville, but coach Urban Meyer lost faith in the 22-year-old somewhere along the road.
In 2020, Henderson’s rookie campaign was cut short by injury, and when asked whether it would be difficult for Henderson to make up for the time he missed, Meyer told the New York Post, “I don’t know.”
Maybe Jacksonville just really likes their options in the secondary and wants to stir the pot. Still, trading a first-round pick so soon usually doesn’t happen. Meyer has opened up a can of worms by putting his cornerback on the market, and the Saints just might take the bait.
Some on Twitter have already joked how Henderson would only add confusion to the roster since he shares first name initials with fellow secondary member C.J. Gardner-Johnson.
New Orleans Saints are entertaining trade for Jaguars’ C.J. Henderson
Don’t jump the gun too quickly, though. The Saints just brought on Poole to round out the cornerback unit of Marshon Lattimore, Patrick Robinson, and Paulson Adebo. Given Adebo’s recent raining camp performances and projected success, the Saints may not be looking for another young, less-refined prospect.
But to quote a trite Spanish phrase, por qué no los dos?
As a rookie, Henderson started and played in eight games, recording one interception, one forced fumble, six passes defended, and 36 combined tackles. He later suffered a season-ending groin injury which factors into his 74th-best cornerback ranking per PFF.
Yet Henderson’s healthy now, and he fits the athletic, high-pedigree profile of a promising lockdown corner.
If the Jaguars are truly willing to part with their coveted draft pick, they could give the Saints a call. New Orleans doesn’t have the spending power or salary cap to offer Henderson a fat contract, but they do have a potential trade piece who’s been an absolute thorn in their side this year: Michael Thomas.
After all the drama that went down with Thomas’ injury, it’s safe to say there is bad blood between the wideout and the Saints. With New Orleans’ wide receiver unit impressing of late, the franchise may no longer feel so inclined to hold onto Thomas.
An offseason trade for another corner to groom alongside Adebo could yield better returns for the future.
Michael Thomas reuniting with Urban Meyer in Jacksonville? Two C.J.’s at cornerback?
Weirder things in the league have happened.