The New York Jets are comfortable with their current cornerback depth chart even if you aren’t at home.
Head coach Robert Saleh has said as much during his open media opportunities and general manager Joe Douglas’ actions speak louder than words by not addressing the group significantly during free agency or the NFL draft.
While all of that is unequivocally true, good teams adapt and mold to a situation based on new evidence.
It happened earlier this offseason when the Jets thought they were going into training camp with Mekhi Becton and George Fant as their offensive tackles. Then veteran Morgan Moses was released by the Washington Football Team which changed the dynamic.
Gang Green pivoted their plan and added the talented stalwart to the rotation. Once again another opportunity has presented itself and we’ll see if the Jets decide to call an audible at the line of scrimmage.
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An Intriguing Opportunity Has Presented Itself
Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. Ferris Bueller said that line at the end of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and apparently it also translates to the football field.
Just last year CJ Henderson was a promising top-10 pick in the 2020 NFL draft with expectations that he could become one of the NFL’s top cover men. Fast forward a year later and he reportedly could be had for the right price.
Jeremy Fowler, an NFL reporter for ESPN, announced on Sunday evening that the 22-year old “is available via trade.”
The Jacksonville Jaguars have “given [the] impression” they’re “shopping” the talented corner just a year into his rookie contract.
The natural follow-up question to all of this is why?
On top of those problems, there’s a brand new regime on 1 Jaguars Drive headed by college football legend Urban Meyer.
This new front office has absolutely zero ties to the former top-10 pick. That makes potentially cutting ties that much easier because there’s no emotional connection to the selection of that player with a premium pick.
The Top Potential Jets Trade Package Offers
I reached out to several NFL executives and insiders around the league to determine what it would cost to pry Henderson out of the Jaguars’ hands from a Jets perspective.
Based on those conversations, here are five potential trade packages for Henderson that would make sense for the Jets.
5. Jaguars receive WR Jamison Crowder, 2022 first-rounder (originally Seattle Seahawks); Jets receive CJ Henderson
The Jaguars did just add a versatile gadget player in Tavon Austin, but they don’t have a proven slot weapon. Crowder could fill that hole at a minimum for 2021 and then they could re-evaluate after this season.
Putting Crowder aside, this package would be centered around a first-rounder.
This was another point of contention among insiders: is Henderson worth that level of compensation? The talent is undeniable, but if the team is giving up after just a year, what does that say?
From talent evaluators I spoke with, Henderson is worthy of the price. He’d plug in and be an immediate upgrade over the current Jets cornerback situation and you’d essentially get your first-rounder next year “in advance” as it was described to me:
The other attractive nuggets of acquiring Henderson from a Jets perspective:
- Only 22 years of age.
- Still has three years left on his rookie contract for a total of $7.5 million (unreal value through the length of the contract).
- Would fill a massive need for the Jets and Robert Saleh would love to get his hands on this piece of clay to take advantage of his aggressiveness.
4. Jaguars receive TE Chris Herndon, 2022 second-rounder (originally Gang Green), 2022 fourth-rounder (originally Carolina Panthers); Jets receive CJ Henderson
League executives are split on Herndon and understandably so. Some see the raw talent and believe in the right situation he could become a star. While others think he’s talented, but it’ll never come together.
Although there’s no debate that Jacksonville is in desperate need of a dynamic pass-catching tight end. Getting a 25-year old on the last year of his contract along with a combination of draft capital could be enough to get the job done.
3. Jaguars receive WR Denzel Mims, 2022 second-rounder (originally Carolina Panthers); Jets receive cornerback CJ Henderson
Jets head coach Robert Saleh shut down the Denzel Mims media-driven negative train after practice on Tuesday (clip above). It’s unlikely, despite everything that has been reported, that the former Baylor product will be moved.
Putting that aside, we can’t deny that there have been a few bumps in the road, even though it’s just practice. If the Jets wanted to flip an asset and a future pick, they may find a willing partner in the Jaguars.
While Jacksonville has talent at wideout (DJ Chark, Laviska Shenault, and Marvin Jones Jr), they could look to add to Trevor Lawrence’s stable of weapons. Jones is 31 years old and Mims could be his long-term replacement.
2. Jaguars receive a conditional third-round pick in 2022 (if Henderson doesn’t reach playing time incentives it drops to a fourth-rounder, if he does meet those conditions it becomes a second-rounder); Jets receive cornerback CJ Henderson
One insider I spoke with said the Jaguars “haven’t advertised a price” on Henderson, but when asked to speculate what it could cost they replied, “some type of conditional pick with the floor being a fourth-rounder and a ceiling of a second-rounder.”
That thought likely won’t excite Jaguars fans, but that may be the reality of the situation.
ESPN analyst and former member of the Jets Damien Woody recently suggested, “I don’t even think it would take a first [rounder] to be honest.”
1. Jaguars receive EDGE rusher John Franklin-Myers, 2022 second-rounder (originally the Panthers), 2023 third-rounder (originally the Jets); Jets receive CJ Henderson
The Jaguars are in desperate need of pass rushers and since the Jets have zero interest in dealing defensive stud Quinnen Williams, another interesting name came up in our conversations: JFM.
While his overall stats may not jump off the page (five career sacks), a lot of NFL people continued to bring his name up as a piece of a potential trade package. The analytical crowd believes that he has all the tools to break out, he just has to be put in the right situation.