Can Erin Henderson contribute for New York Jets?


This past off season, general manager Mike Maccagnan signed linebacker Erin Henderson to a one year $745,000 dollar deal. The former Minnesota Viking linebacker comes to the New York Jets in an attempt to resurrect his once promising career.

Henderson was signed by the Vikings after the 2008 NFL Draft as an undrafted free agent. Henderson played in twenty one games for the Vikings in his first three years before settling into a starting role in 2011. That year, Henderson started fifteen games and combined for 70 tackles, adding 1.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. The NFL began to take notice.

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The following year, Henderson built on his successes, posting 80 tackles (50 solo), three sacks and one forced fumble. Henderson became a force within the Vikings’ defense and he wasn’t done yet. In 2013, Henderson continued to develop into a solid linebacker at the NFL level. For the season, Henderson combined for 112 tackles (69 solo), four sacks, a forced fumble and two interceptions.

Henderson’s career was hitting professional highs, but his off the field activities were beginning to cause troubles for the up and coming defensive star. In November of 2013, Henderson was arrested for driving under the influence, less then six weeks later, he was again arrested for the same charge on Jan. 2, 2014.

Henderson was punished with a four-game suspension by the NFL and was cut by the Vikings on Feb. 7, 2014. He was arrested shortly thereafter, again for suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of ten grams of marijuana. Henderson’s professional and private life came crashing down on him, and the once promising linebacker found himself unemployed in 2014.

Out of football in 2014, Henderson checked himself into an addiction facility and focused his energy on his family. Working out both in Los Angeles and Florida, Henderson has readied himself for what could be his final chance to play in the NFL.

Henderson comes to the Jets at 28 years of age. Seen by most as an inside linebacker on the Jets’ 3-4 defensive scheme, he has a good opportunity to have an impact on this football team. The last season he played it was inside and he responded with a career-year including a pair of interceptions.

Jun 9, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets linebacker Erin Henderson (58) catches the ball during New York Jets minicamp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

If he can put his demons behind him and return to his prior form, Maccagnan has pulled off a real gem in this signing. Henderson has the potential to vastly improve the Jets’ linebacker corps as he is a fantastic athlete with an ideal skill-set for this football team. Of course, Henderson is one drink or toke away from not making this roster as well.

The signing this past off-season could be huge for the Jets. It’s a very low risk, high gain experiment. For Henderson, it’s another chance to prove he belongs in the NFL. For the Jets, it’s an opportunity to solidify their linebacker corps for 2015, as their younger linebackers develop and learn under veteran leadership. The gain far outweighs the risk in Henderson’s case I’m thinking.

There’s my take on Henderson. I’m thinking he makes this roster easily if he keeps his head on straight. What’s your take? Can Henderson make the 53-man roster in 2015? We at The Jet Press value your opinion. Leave us a comment and Let’s Talk Jet Football!!

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