There’s an NFL analyst who believes the Super Bowl champs should pull off the reverse of that.
Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report wrote down his list of one player every NFL team should trade before the 2022 season starts. Interestingly enough, he has the Rams making a change in the backfield just nearly one year after the Michel move.
Analyst Calls for Ex-3rd Rounder to be Traded
The trade proposal from Sobleski: Sending former third rounder Darrell Henderson Jr. away.
“Hendo” was supposed to be the lead back after the devastating Achilles tear from Cam Akers. Yet, the Rams needed the depth and, with Henderson’s own injury history, the team felt compelled to lure in Michel away from the New England Patriots.
But with Akers healthy and new changes in the RB depth chart, Sobleski and B/R point to the Rams making one more move.
“Akers’ explosivity wasn’t quite there, but he carried the ball 67 times during the postseason. No other player on the Rams had even half of that number,” Sobleski wrote. “During Akers’ absence, Sony Michel, not Darrell Henderson Jr., became L.A.’s leading rusher at 845 yards. Though Henderson did miss five regular-season contests with an MCL sprain.”
Which led the B/R columnist to deliver the idea of the Rams moving on from “Hendo” soon.
“Clearly, Akers is the Rams’ feature back moving forward, while Henderson is a free agent after this season,” Sobleski said.
Henderson is entering the final season of the rookie deal he signed in 2019 — which was a four-year, $4,212,005 deal. Per Spotrac, Henderson is set to make $1,060,601 for his 2022 base salary before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
There will be those who believe that sending Henderson to another franchise will clear some cap room. As it was, the Rams also pulled off something similar with Kenny Young who was putting together a strong 2021 before being traded to the Denver Broncos. That move eventually cleared the way for Von Miller to come on board before the NFL trade deadline.
Moving on from Henderson, however, won’t be as easy as some think.
‘Hendo’ Put up Career Bests
Here’s the leverage on why the Rams can consider keeping “Hendo.”
For starters, there’s always going to be that injury concern attached to Akers, unfortunately. It’s considering how he plays a position where defenders will go after the knees with their helmet and shoulder pads. Plus backup Jake Funk has his own injury history (hamstring that sidelined him for the rest of 2021, suffered two ACL injuries in college). Even 2022 draft pick Kyren Williams broke his foot though is expected to be ready to report to UC Irvine on July 23. Williams was described by B/R as “arguably the best third-down/receiving back from this year’s draft class.”
But it’s not just the IR list that could persuade the Rams to hold on to Henderson for camp.
Despite not establishing himself as the top rusher due to his own MCL ailment, Henderson still delivered the following career-best numbers per Pro Football Reference:
Carries: His 149 carries was an improvement over his 138 from 2020.
Receiving game: Henderson caught 29 passes for 176 yards and scored 3 times — all represent career-highs.
Rushing yards: “Hendo” hit 688 yards, also a new best total.
And in the Super Bowl, he provided these kind of plays that kept drives alive:
One has to really wonder what Henderson would be worth should a trade happen. It’s likely mid-round picks or another running back who could provide depth in the “Rams House.”
Henderson may not have put up the most astronomical of numbers yet in his NFL career. And his time with the Rams may be ticking away. But because of past injury concerns in the RB room and what he did deliver in truncated availability, there’s still the belief he’ll hang on with the champs through camp.