3 Carolina Panthers entering the last chance saloon over final four games of 2023

It's time to put up or shut up for these Carolina Panthers players...

Stephen Sullivan
Stephen Sullivan / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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C.J. Henderson - Carolina Panthers CB

C.J. Henderson's long been labeled a draft bust. The cornerback came into the league as the next potential shutdown presence following an exceptional college career at Florida. To say he's failed to meet these lofty expectations would be an understatement.

In fairness to Henderson, he's responded well to better coaching this season. The former first-round pick looks like someone who could potentially help on the rotation under a different regime. What happens over his final four games of 2023 could decide the defensive back's fate.

Henderson is out of contract after the Carolina Panthers made the right decision to decline his fifth-year option during the offseason. What the future holds is murky at best right now. The only way he can improve his hopes of an extended stay is by performing to or above expectations down the stretch.

Even if the Panthers' new coaching staff - and perhaps some fresh blood in the front office - don't see Henderson as part of their long-term plans, putting out good tape could tempt someone else in free agency. Teams are always willing to bet on these types of players - ones who came into the league with everything going for them in the hope of slaving their careers.

That's for the future. For now, Henderson must show the right resolve and find the consistency needed to make an impact on Ejiro Evero's improving defensive unit. Anything else is out of his hands.