CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers on Monday acquired cornerback CJ Henderson and a fifth-round pick from the Jacksonville Jaguars for tight end Dan Arnold and a third-round pick, the teams announced.
The Panthers’ 2021 first-round pick, cornerback Jaycee Horn, is out for an extended time, possibly for the season, with multiple broken bones in his right foot. Panthers coach Matt Rhule said Horn will have surgery. He was placed on injured reserve Monday.
Rhule said Henderson is a player the Panthers considered taking with the seventh overall pick in 2020. They used that pick on Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown.
“CJ Henderson is somebody we liked a long time,” Rhule said. “Any chance you have to get a top 15 draft pick from the year before, it’s very unique.”
It’s an aggressive move for a 3-0 Carolina team that leads the NFC South by a game over Tampa Bay (2-1) and New Orleans (2-1) heading into Sunday’s game at Dallas.
Horn, son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn, suffered the injury in the third quarter of Thursday night’s 24-9 win at Houston.
Carolina signed Arnold to a two-year deal during the offseason in an attempt to upgrade the tight end position. He caught only seven passes for 84 yards in the first three games with no touchdowns.
The decision to move on from Arnold speaks volumes to what Rhule thinks of 2021 third-round pick Tommy Tremble out of Notre Dame. Rhule recently referred to Tremble as this year’s Jeremy Chinn.
Chinn was a strong candidate for NFL Rookie of the Year in 2020 as an outside linebacker/safety.
The Panthers spent the weekend looking for Horn’s replacement. They also inquired about Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman, 33, a league source told ESPN.
Henderson, 22, gives Carolina a younger option with veterans A.J. Bouye and Rashaan Melvin already on the roster. Carolina likes Bouye more as a nickelback.
Henderson started eight games in 2020 before shoulder and groin injuries sidelined him for the rest of the season. He started the first two games but missed this past week’s game with a groin injury suffered in Week 2 against Denver.
Rhule said he expects Henderson, pending his physical, will be available for Sunday’s game at Dallas.
“We talked to them down there [Jacksonville], and there was no concern,” Rhule said.
Rhule didn’t specify if Henderson would start out initially as a wide corner opposite Donte Jackson or nickel. Henderson spent 89 percent of the first two games lined up wide right.
“He has tremendous upside and excited to get him here,” Rhule said.
The Panthers showed some interest in Henderson this summer when the Jaguars were shopping him. Talks heated up on Friday after Carolina realized the seriousness of Horn’s injury.
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 several years to come.
“This is not a short-term think” he said. “This is a long-term thing.”
Jaguars coach Urban Meyer said the development of cornerback Tyson Campbell, whom the Jaguars took with the first pick of the second round this past spring, made Henderson expendable. He also said he hoped Henderson, who has had some off field issues as well as battled injuries, would benefit from a change of scenery.
“He [Campbell] is starting to perform at what we expect him to be. He’s a very, very talented guy,” Meyer said. “We get [cornerback] Tre Herndon back, who can play nickel. We have to improve a lot of areas of our team.
“Might be a good fresh 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’s going to be good for both of us.”
ESPN’s Michael DiRocco contributed to this report.