Jacksonville Jaguars: Trading CJ Henderson now would be puzzling

C.J. Henderson #23 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
C.J. Henderson #23 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

There’s no doubt this has been a hectic offseason for Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback C.J. Henderson. Nobody would blame you if you couldn’t keep track of everything he’s gone through. In the end, the Florida product had an outstanding preseason and is ready to pick up where he left off in his rookie campaign. That’s why trading him wouldn’t make much sense. Still, Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report recently explored the possibility.

Knox drew up a list of bold trade predictions before the start of the 2021 regular season. He believes the Jags should trade Henderson for New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas. He thinks that the three-time Pro Bowl nod would give rookie Trevor Lawrence a premier target in the passing game. Knox adds that head coach Urban Meyer’s and Thoma’s Ohio State connection would help them “form a good working relationship” in Jacksonville.

Meanwhile, Henderson would give the Saints a “promising young cornerback” opposite Marshon Lattimore. Knox doesn’t mention any additional compensation, so this would be a player-for-player kind of trade. Would it make sense for the Jags? Certainly not and here’s why.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a starting cornerback in C.J. Henderson.

Henderson experienced growing pains in his rookie season but he also showed promise. Urban Meyer described him as a talented young man earlier this year. However, his status for the regulars season wasn’t certain after a myriad of circumstances. He was placed on the COVID-19/Reserve list and missed a good chunk of training camp. Then, a report came out about him possibly being available via trade.

Jaguars assistant head coach Charlie Strong said the team wanted to help Henderson and added that the sophomore cornerback made the team better. The ninth overall pick in the 2020 draft repaid the Jags trust and quickly made up for the time he lost in the offseason. He had an outstanding offseason, which earned him the third-highest Pro Football Focus coverage grade of the preseason.

Henderson looks like a good bet to start opposite Shaquill Griffin in the season opener. Especially after the Jaguars traded Sidney Jones to the Seattle Seahawks. Why would the team’s brass trade him right now?

The Jacksonville Jaguars don’t need wide receiver Michael Thomas.

Thomas underwent ankle surgery in July and will miss the beginning of the regular season. It wouldn’t make sense for the Jaguars to trade for a player that won’t contribute right away. Moreover, wide receiver is currently a strength in Jacksonville. For that reason, Thomas would be an unnecessary luxury.

The Jaguars have a solid trio of wide receivers in DJ Chark Jr., Marvin Jones Jr., and Laviska Shenault Jr. They also have a promising young wideout in Tyron Johnson, whom they recently claimed off of waivers. In case they suffer injuries, they can quickly promote Jeff Cotton Jr. or Laquon Treadwell from the practice squad. Both players played at a high level in the preseason and both can step up if the team needs them.

The Jaguars’ wide receiver corps is far from elite. But there’s no need for Thomas. The team’s brass has put together a well-rounded group and trading C.J. Henderson to reinforce it would be puzzling.

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