C.J. Henderson - Carolina Panthers CB
After a pretty disappointing season from C.J. Henderson, the Carolina Panthers opted to not pick up the former Gators’ fifth-year option. This was the right call in the circumstances.
The Panthers' top two cornerbacks have had injury issues during Henderson’s tenure in Carolins, so he’s had plenty of opportunities to carve out a role. His performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a Week 17 divisional showdown left a bitter taste in the fanbase’s mouth, but the 2020 first-round pick had some impressive outings.
In their first matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, Henderson picked off quarterback Marcus Mariota after giving up a 47-yard touchdown to Damiere Byrd. His 92.0 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus was his highest all season, and the bomb to his new Panthers teammate was the only catch he surrendered.
This is further proof that there is a productive player in Henderson. It's finding improved consistency that remains his biggest obstacle heading into a contract year.
If the Panthers decide to bring in another veteran defensive back, Henderson could find himself fighting for reps with undrafted free agent Rejzohn Wright and Keith Taylor Jr.