4 Carolina Panthers players who need a monster offseason in 2023

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Tommy Tremble
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Tommy Tremble /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) C.J. Henderson /

C.J. Henderson – Carolina Panthers CB

Not picking up C.J. Henderson’s fifth-year option is an easy decision to make. The Carolina Panthers haven’t seen enough consistency from the cornerback following his trade from the Jacksonville Jaguars to justify anything else.

This makes the coming offseason easily the most important of Henderson’s career. While it doesn’t appear likely he’ll ever become what many envisaged when the Jaguars took him at No. 9 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, there could be a role to play within Ejiro Evero’s new scheme.

The defensive coordinator deploys a 3-4 base that interchanges frequently and relies heavily on nickel packages with as many as six defensive backs. Looking at Carolina’s current options, Henderson could be the No. 2 or No. 3 option depending on Donte Jackson’s injury status and what incomings arrive in the coming weeks.

Henderson should be fully aware of the implications that could emerge with any regression when preparations ramp up. Not only would his time with the Panthers be in doubt, but there’s also a chance that no other NFL team takes a look in 2024 based on his current career trajectory.

This is a high-stakes situation for Henderson. What comes next is down to the defensive back after an indifferent first four years at the next level.