(Image credit James Johnson/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick
One of my favorite parts about sports is that anything can happen in the NFL if it is on the field with an upset or off the field with a transaction made by a team. Especially when a trade occurs and that is what happened on Monday as news came out the Jaguars have made a trade involving former 1st round pick CB CJ Henderson. So in this article, I will analyze the trade with both parties and give my grade of the trade.
Jacksonville Jaguars Trade Cornerback CJ Henderson and 2022 5th round pick to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for Tight End Dan Arnold and a 2022 3rd round Pick
Jacksonville Jaguars Side
What a waste of a top 10 pick made by the Jaguars. Then again it made no sense why they kept Dave Cadwell as their GM for that draft. But it was clear that the Jaguars had no confidence in CJ Henderson and they gave up on him way too quickly. By the way, did you know that he was drafted 17 months ago? Time flies very quickly now. To me, it was very telling as Urban Meyer clearly was never a big fan of him and I knew that once the Jaguars signed Shaquil Griffin and drafted Tyson Campbell that there was a big problem with CJ Henderson. Now that we looked at the reason Why they traded CJ Henderson let's look at what they acquired.
The Jaguars in this trade acquired TE Dan Arnold and a 2022 3rd round pick. What a classic Trent Baalke Trade here. Baalke during his time with the San Francisco 49ers is known to make these pennies on the dollar trade for talented players. I will give you an example: he thought it would be a good idea to trade Vernon Davis to the Denver Broncos for late-round picks. When Davis was healthy he had value with the Broncos and how well he blocked for the team helped running back CJ Anderson run all over the Panthers defense and score a big touchdown that ended the game for the Broncos which made them win Super Bowl 50. Now this trade was another penny-on-the-dollar move. Say what you want about CJ Henderson but they should have gotten more value for Henderson for a 1st round pick not even a year into his young career. There were even rumors that the Jaguars were offered a first-round pick in the last draft and the GM declined to accept the deal. Now I get why the Jaguars acquired TE Dan Arnold as they needed depth at the Tight End position but Dan Arnold is not a good Tight End at all and has been a journeyman for multiple years. I do understand the 3rd round pick that they acquired but they had to trade a 5th round pick in order to get the third-rounder which shows they gave up on him way too quickly.
The Panthers needed to find a replacement for 1st round pick Jaycee Horn as they placed him on Injured Reserve (IR) as news came out that he needed to get surgery after he suffered a broken foot. So trading for secondary help was not a surprise at all especially with early rumors of CJ Henderson being placed on the trading block. In fact, a lot of people may not remember that there were even rumblings during the 2020 NFL Draft that the Panthers considered taking CJ Henderson with the 7th overall pick but DT Derrick Brown somehow fell to them and he was too good for the team to pass on. Now they officially acquired his services.
Even though I like this trade more for the Carolina Panthers there is still a ton of work that needs to be done when developing CJ Henderson. Especially as he is a poor tackler and it has been a big problem with Henderson throughout his football career. It was his biggest weakness when I looked at him during the 2020 NFL Draft. Henderson also has durability concerns as well. If Henderson properly develops then Carolina’s secondary is going to look scary with two Top 10 1st round picks cornerbacks on their defense when both are healthy. Now that we looked at why they made the deal to acquire CB CJ Henderson let's look at who the Carolina Panthers have traded away.
The Panthers in this deal traded TE Dan Arnold and a 2022 3rd round draft pick. Honestly, it is a bargain deal for the Carolina Panthers to make. Dan Arnold is not even that good and has been a journeyman since he was a part of the league. He was also listed as the backup tight end behind Ian Thomas and it was clear after Tommy Tremble had impressed the coaching staff and was going to take his role on this offense. So at least they traded him for value. But I think the biggest value that they gave up is the 3rd round pick which is completely fair value as the Jaguars felt that CJ Henderson was damaged goods. By the way, Carolina in regards to the 2022 NFL Draft will not have a 2nd or 3rd round pick due to the Sam Darnold and CJ Henderson trades.
At least with Dan Arnold no longer on the Panthers we can stop hearing the cringe jokes from broadcasting. The NFL announcers during Panthers games could not stop with the Darnold to Arnold puns they kept saying throughout this season during Panther games. It was funny the first couple of times. But when it gets repeated over and over again the joke did not get funnier they just got more annoying. So at least we won't hear these puns ever again.
Grade for the CJ Henderson Trade
Carolina Panthers: B+
Jacksonville Jaguars: C-