Darrell Henderson was playing well in Cam Akers’s absence. Through 2 games, he’s recorded 123 yards and two touchdowns, and he’s looked good doing it.
However, there is an itch over his shoulder looming in the background. When the Rams picked up Sony Michel of wavers before the season started, it was never a question of if but when he would pass Henderson.
Mitchell has the resume to earn the starting job in an Akers-less backfield. He was a key piece of the New England Patriots for three seasons and won a Super Bowl. He averaged 764 yards a season in New England, which is a lot lower since he missed six weeks last season with a quad injury.
If Henderson is to miss more than two weeks due to his rib injury from week 2, he’ll be running on borrowed time. Mitchel is a better back, and all he needs is an opportunity to shine. Akers passed Henderson in rushing yards, even when averaging 34% of snaps last season and missing all but one game. Akers missed three games due to injury and received no work in two games last season, and still managed 625 yards.
Henderson doesn’t have to worry about this season. There will be a role for him without Akers. But when Akers returns next season and if Michell shines in Henderson’s absence, he’ll be moved down in the depth charting and could be traded away.
Henderson will be an unrestricted free agent in 2023, but the Rams could trade him. It’ll be better to get something in return in a trade than to let him walk in free agency. He’s a good enough back for teams to have an interest. Teams can build a running back room around him either as a solo star or part of a committee.
We’ll have a better picture of his availability for Sunday against Tampa Bay depending on if he practices today. However, if he doesn’t, it’s the beginning of his downfall. It will be a slow fall but one that could result in his departure. I hope it doesn’t because he’s a good back, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it all comes crashing down with any significant time missed.
Featured Image: Michael Conroy / Associated Press
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