CHARLOTTE, NC — The Carolina Panthers acquired cornerback CJ Henderson and a fifth round Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Dan Arnold and a third round pick on Monday, the teams announced.
The 2021 Panthers first round cornerback Jaycee Horn has been out for an extended period of time, possibly for the season, with multiple broken bones in his right foot. Panthers coach Matt Rhule said Horn will undergo surgery and be placed on injured reserve.
Rhule said Henderson is a player the Panthers were considering taking with the seventh overall pick in 2020. They used that pick on Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown.
“CJ Henderson is someone we’ve liked for a long time,” said Rhule. “Any chance of getting a top 15 selection from the year before is very unique.”
It’s an aggressive move for a 3-0 Carolina team leading the NFC South through a game over Tampa Bay (2-1) and New Orleans (2-1) en route to Sunday’s game in Dallas.
Horn, son of former NFL receiver Joe Horn, sustained the injury in the third quarter of Thursday night’s 24-9 win in Houston.
Carolina signed Arnold to a two-year deal during the off-season in an effort to improve the tight finishing position. He caught just seven passes for 84 yards in the first three games with no touchdowns.
Arnold’s decision to move on speaks volumes as to what Rhule thinks of 2021’s third round taking Tommy Tremble out of Notre Dame. Rhule recently referred to Tremble as this year’s Jeremy Chinn.
Chinn was a strong contender for NFL Rookie of the Year in 2020 as an outside linebacker/safety.
The Panthers were looking for Horn’s replacement over the weekend. They also inquired about Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman, 33, a league source told ESPN.
Henderson, 22, gives Carolina a younger option with veterans AJ Bouye and Rashaan Melvin already on the roster. Carolina likes Bouye more like a Nickelback.
Henderson started eight games in 2020 before shoulder and groin injuries kept him sidelined for the rest of the season. He started the first two games but missed last week’s game with a groin injury sustained in Week 2 against Denver.
Rhule said he expects Henderson, pending his physical, to be available for Sunday’s game in Dallas.
“We talked to them down there” [Jacksonville], and there was no concern,” said Rhule.
Rhule did not specify whether Henderson would initially start as a wide angler to Donte Jackson or Nickel. Henderson spent 89 percent of the first two matches on right side.
“He has a huge advantage and is excited to get him here,” said Rhule.
The Panthers showed some interest in Henderson this summer when the Jaguars were shopping for him. Talks flared on Friday after Carolina realized how serious Horn’s injury was.
In many ways, Henderson and Horn are the same player. Both are 6-foot-1 with elite speed. Both can play man-to-man and zone.
Rhule likes the thought of having them both for a few more years.
“This is not short-term thinking,” he said. “This is something for the long term.”
Jaguars coach Urban Meyer said the development of cornerback Tyson Campbell, who took the Jaguars with the second-round first pick last spring, made Henderson expendable. He also said he hoped Henderson, who has had some problems off the pitch and suffered injuries, would benefit from a change of scenery.
“He [Campbell] starts to perform as we expect from him. He’s a very, very talented man,” Meyer said. “We get… [cornerback] Tre Herndon back, who can play nickel. We need to improve many parts of our team.
“Maybe a good new start for CJ. I had a great visit with his family. I love CJ and spent a lot of time with him as his parent. I think it will be good for both of us.”
ESPN’s Michael DiRocco contributed to this report.
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