Saints Trade Rumors: Jaguars' C.J. Henderson Among Possible CB Options Explored by NO

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 9, 2021

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 24: C.J. Henderson #23 of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks on during the third quarter of a game against the Miami Dolphins at TIAA Bank Field on September 24, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
James Gilbert/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints "are exploring available options in the trade market for a cornerback," according to Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com.

Duncan listed Jacksonville Jaguars defensive back C.J. Henderson as a possible target. ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Sunday some teams have come to believe the Jags would consider moving the 2020 first-round pick.

Henderson had 36 tackles, six pass breakups, one forced fumble and one interception in eight games as a rookie.

The Associated Press' Mark Long provided some context that showed Jacksonville's opinion of the 22-year-old may have been souring for some time:

"The only thing clear about Henderson’s situation is the Jaguars had concerns months ago despite what Meyer said publicly. Jacksonville gave cornerback Shaquill Griffin a three-year, $40 million deal in free agency, re-signed former starters Tre Herndon and Sidney Jones and then drafted Georgia cornerback Tyson Campbell with the first pick in the second round.
"The Jags had more pressing needs (safety, pass rusher, offensive line, tight end) but instead grabbed an insurance policy for Henderson."

Reaching out to the Jaguars about a deal makes sense.

Henderson's combined salary-cap hit over the next three years is $16.8 million. That's a bargain if he can prove himself to be a starting-caliber cornerback. And his performance in 2020 at least offers some hope that's the case.

Aaron Schatz 🏈 @FO_ASchatz

I'm guessing whatever is going on with CJ Henderson and the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Jaguars?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Jaguars</a> has to do with off-field behavior. He wasn't great as a rookie but he showed promise. 46th in coverage success rate, 60th in yards per pass, in a half-season sample. Better than Tre Herndon, anyway.

The Saints signed Brian Poole but lost Janoris Jenkins, who tied for the team lead in interceptions with three. Along with Poole, they addressed the secondary by selecting Stanford's Paulson Adebo in the third round of the 2021 NFL draft.

Still, matching a fifth-place finish in passing yards allowed (217 per game) might be difficult in 2021. That New Orleans is exploring the trade market signals a desire to strengthen its options at cornerback.

Even if he didn't provide an immediate return, Henderson's contract status might make him a little more attractive for the Saints since Poole and Patrick Robinson are due to be free agents in 2022.