NFL insider suggests Packers could target first-round bust in free agency

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Brian Gutekunst hinted at the Green Bay Packers being active in free agency. The Packers could target positions of need, including cornerback, safety, and linebacker.

Gutekunst's track record is good. In 2019, he hit on Preston Smith, Za'Darius Smith, and Adrian Amos, moves that transformed the Packers' defense. He later added De'Vondre Campbell and Rasul Douglas, who immediately became key contributors.

Adding cornerback talent is a priority this offseason, and The Athletic's Matt Schneidman has identified a potential target.

"Keep an eye on corner C.J. Henderson for the Packers in free agency," writes Schneidman.

Henderson was selected ninth overall four years ago, but the Jacksonville Jaguars traded him to the Carolina Panthers in only his second season with the team.

Why the Packers should avoid C.J. Henderson in free agency

The Packers need more cornerback depth, and it's understandable why they might consider Henderson. He was a top-10 draft pick and is still only 25 years old. Working with defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley, a former defensive backs coach, could get the best out of him.

However, that's too big of a risk to take. Spotrac projects Henderson will land a deal worth $8.4 million per year. That's too much to pay for a cornerback who has yet to prove why he was selected in the first round.

According to Pro Football Reference, last season, quarterbacks throwing into Henderson's coverage completed 73 percent of passes for 310 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions, and a passer rating of 106.8. The year before, Henderson allowed 69 percent of passes to be completed for 684 yards, five touchdowns, two picks, and a 103.5 rating.

Henderson has received PFF coverage grades below 50 for the past three seasons.

Beyond the stats, you only have to look at the lack of commitment from the Jaguars and Panthers. Less than two years after drafting Henderson ninth overall, Jacksonville traded him and a fifth-round pick to Carolina for a third-round selection and tight end Dan Arnold.

The Panthers opted against picking up his fifth-year option last offseason, and it now appears Henderson is heading to free agency.

Green Bay needs cornerback help, but Gutekunst should avoid signing Henderson.

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