After suffering the K.C. Chiefs suffer their second consecutive stomach-churning loss, fans likely woke up hoping to read something in the works about a move or two to stop the bleeding. The pass rush is non-existent. The secondary is getting torched. The run defense has been largely abysmal.
In short, the defense could use some help.
Well, the NFL powers-that-be heard the cries of someone on Monday by pushing out a notable trade rumor. And given the cost involved, it’s a bit surprising that the K.C. Chiefs (or, really, any other team hoping for help at cornerback) weren’t in on things.
The cost to trade for C.J. Henderson seems entirely reasonable for a team like the K.C. Chiefs to have paid in retrospect.
Ian Rapoport noted that the Carolina Panthers were closing in on a deal for Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback C.J. Henderson. That’s all well and good for the Chiefs, since Henderson has been floated on the trade block for months without any action. Apparently the team has felt good about their cornerback corps to date.
But what moves the needle here is the trade return that Rapoport is reporting.
Yeah, that’s a shrug of a pass-catching tight end and a third round pick for Henderson and a fifth round pick. In short, the Panthers drop down approximately 50 spots in the draft and offer up the likes of Anthony Becht to pick up the No. 9 overall pick in the draft.
I’m underselling Dan Arnold here, but here’s not Travis Kelce. He’s not even the aging Zach Ertz. Okay, maybe that’s something of a solid comp, but the return here (or even the positional value) makes zero sense for the Jaguars.
Henderson was the No. 9 overall pick just a year ago. He was hailed as the best cover cornerback in the entire class, and he comes with the sort of length that makes Steve Spagnuolo’s mouth water. He entered the NFL with some questions about his slight build and his ability to defend the run, among other things, but his cover skills are obvious and the Jags were offering a classic buy-low opportunity here (something Brett Veach loves).
The Chiefs aren’t going to be in any position to take top 10 talents in the draft, so if not for the rare opportunity that floats by like this one, Veach is going to have to unearth some gems and pay handsomely for superstars when they’re ready to get paid. So when Henderson is grabbed by another franchise for pennies on the dollar, you have to wonder why the Chiefs didn’t break open their own bank.
What if the Chiefs would have offered up a third round pick without the need for one back at all? What if it they’d offered up Jody Fortson or Noah Gray to go with a pick swap? Even the position of dealing a tight end for a top-tier corner is an automatic yes every time unless the TE going places is someone like Travis Kelce—some position-defining talent.
Dan Arnold and a pick swap from Day 3 to Day 2 is the sort of pittance that says Henderson is a bust. The Jags apparently didn’t think much of their own investment under a former regime. That’s fine for them, but scouts across the league were hot for Henderson for good reason. Even if he turns out to be a moderately successful corner on a
rookie deal, it’s worth rolling the dice for a team already deep at tight end who won’t be seeing the Top 10 anytime soon.
At least, that’s what we hope.