4 Carolina Panthers players fighting for their futures after the 2023 bye week

The stakes could not be higher...

Hayden Hurst
Hayden Hurst / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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C.J. Henderson - Carolina Panthers CB

There wasn't much optimism surrounding C.J. Henderson heading into the campaign. The Carolina Panthers clearly thought more about his prospects under improved coaches than most fans, with those in power ignoring the clear need to improve cornerback depth in favor of sticking with the options available.

Only Troy Hill came in as a genuine threat to the rotation in the event injury struck. Jaycee Horn and Donte Jackson missing time thrust Henderson into No. 1 duties, which filled almost everyone with dread based on what we've witnessed throughout his career to date.

In fairness to the former first-round selection, he's improved slightly through six weeks. It hasn't been easy for Henderson with a lack of talent across the secondary due to various health complications, but the player is handling himself well despite giving up a few big plays.

Even so, Henderson is still conceding 72.4 percent of targets and has a 114.9 passer rating when targeted. Something that means the jury is still out as to whether or not he'll get a new deal beyond the current campaign.

The Panthers didn't pick up Henderson's fifth-year option earlier this spring, which was expected. Much will depend on the finances involved, but offering the one-time Florida star anything more than CB2 or even CB3 money wouldn't be smart as things stand currently.