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Saints Nation: Does Devery Henderson Have a Future in New Orleans?

Former LSU standout Devery Henderson’s up and down pro career hit rock bottom last season, when the Saints’ receiver was almost entirely stricken from the gameplan as well as Drew Brees’ awareness. Despite “starting” and playing in all 16 games, Henderson only caught 17 passes in the remaining 11 games. That means he was averaging 1.54 receptions per game after week 5. It’s hard to explain his sudden non-involvement in the offense, but his number was almost never dialed up. What’s more, the few times he was thrown to there was little reward. Henderson is known as an explosive player that turns his many of his touches into big plays. Over those last 11 games and 17 receptions, though, he never found the end zone and he averaged just 15 yards per reception (well below his career 18.6 yard average). Henderson is scheduled to make $2.25 million in 2011, so while he’s still somewhat affordable it’s clear his cost outweighs his production at the moment. Whether or not the Saints decide to keep him is another story.

The Saints current crop of receivers feature

Marques Colston and Robert Meachem as the two guys that are guaranteed roster spots. Lance Moore does not have a contract with the team and depending on how the new labor deal works out, he’ll either be a restricted free agent or an unrestricted free agent. Either way, he’s expressed discontent over how his contract situation has played out so it’s uncertain whether or not he’ll be back. The Saints want him back, no doubt, but I get the sense Lance Moore values his worth higher than what the Saints are willing to pay him. Another receiver who is making strides is Adrian Arrington. Arrington is a promising young player that should get a shot next season. Whether or not that means the end for Henderson remains to be seen.

Personally, even if Arrington stays healthy and Lance Moore gets re-signed, I still think Henderson has a chance to stay on the Saints. That said, I did feel like his blazing speed regressed a bit last season. To me he looked a little heftier and I wonder whether he lost a step which could have caused his major drop off in performance. Henderson has always been a poor route runner and he’s always had very inconsistent hands, but the one advantage he has always had against anyone he lined up against was elite speed. My perception is the drop off in that department left him as a below average player and the statistics last season showed that. If I’m the Saints, I’m encouraging Devery to get to whatever playing weight gives him the separation speed he needs to be effective if he wants to continue generating that kind of income.