The Los Angeles Rams surprised the NFL world on Tuesday by releasing a running back that had been the team’s primary ball-carrier for most of the last three seasons.
Los Angeles announced — among a series of moves — that they have waived running back Darrell Henderson.
LA Rams Transactions:
• Terminated (by Club) from Practice Squad TE Kendall Blanton
• Waived, No Recall RB Darrell Henderson, LB Justin Hollins
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) November 22, 2022
Shortly after the news, Henderson tweeted the following:
— Darrell Henderson Jr (@DarrellH8) November 22, 2022
Henderson, 25, has started seven of the Rams’ 10 games this season and 28 games over the last three seasons. He led the team in rushing this season, with 70 carries for 283 yards (4.0 yards per carry) and three touchdowns, to go with 17 receptions for 102 yards. The fourth-year running back has averaged at least 4.0 yards per carry in each of the last three seasons and 4.4 yards per carry for his career.
The assumption over the last several weeks has been that Cam Akers, not Henderson, was the Los Angeles running back with its roster status in question. The Rams were reportedly even looking to trade Akers ahead of the Nov. 1 deadline.
However, Akers has seen his role increase over the last few weeks, with that especially being the case in the Rams’ 27-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Akers had 14 carries for 61 yards, while Henderson had just two carries for nine yards. There had been concerns that Akers’ explosiveness had deteriorated after suffering an Achilles injury in July 2021, and he’s only averaging 3.1 yards per carry on the season. But Akers is running with more efficiency of late, and perhaps head coach Sean McVay and the Rams are now optimistic about Akers returning to the promising form he showed as a rookie in 2020.
Additionally, the Henderson decision is a sign that the Rams are very high on rookie fifth-rounder Kyren Williams (who had seven carries for 36 yards vs the Saints), and he’s definitely a name for fantasy football managers to keep in mind for the rest of the season.
Henderson will surely draw a lot of interest from rushing-needy teams and shouldn’t take long to find a new home.
NFL fans were very surprised by Tuesday’s news, and here’s a sampling of the reaction on social media:
through 11 weeks:
Darrell Henderson – 70 carries, 283 yards, 4 yards/carry, 3TD, 22 targets, 17 rec, 102 yards (4.4 yards/touch)
Cam Akers – 76 carries, 237 yards, 3.1 yards/carry, 1TD, 6 targets, 2 rec, 18 yards (3.3 yards/touch)
Rams waived the wrong RB
— Kev Mahserejian (@RotoSurgeon) November 22, 2022
Todd Gurley left the Rams on bad terms
Cam Akers almost left the Rams on bad terms
Darrell Henderson seems more than okay with the move
Sean McVay has not mixed well with running backs https://t.co/9KW2hrfE8F
— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) November 22, 2022
I got a bad feeling Darrell Henderson's going to ruin a perfectly good workhorse running back's touches.
— #AskFFT (@daverichard) November 22, 2022
the rams are really keeping cam akers over darrell henderson.
this is UNREAL. henderson’s numbers are astronomically better. this makes zero sense to me.
i know henderson will be picked up by a team that values him, like the rams SHOULD’VE. #ramshouse
— Alexis Kraft (@TheAlexisKraft) November 22, 2022
I would honestly be pretty shocked if the #Chiefs don’t put a claim in for Darrell Henderson. That’s not based on reporting, but feels like an obvious fit with CEH’s injury.
— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) November 22, 2022
Cam Akers had one good run and that’s all Sean McVay needed to cut Darrell Henderson.
— Raymond Summerlin (@RMSummerlin) November 22, 2022
the Rams are so mad at Cam Akers they cut Darrell Henderson https://t.co/VOIgZ3OLap
— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) November 22, 2022
Note: Darrell Henderson's Contract was set to expire at the end of the season.
This cut leads me to believe the team and Hendo were at a mutual place, with him unlikely to re-sign in '23 and the Rams out of the playoffs in 2022..gives him a chance for a chance for early new home https://t.co/e3Jk2sdqpB
— ᴄᴏᴅʏ ᴄᴀʀᴘᴇɴᴛɪᴇʀ (@CarpentierNFL) November 22, 2022
"Yeah, Darrell Henderson Jr. only played 4 snaps Sunday because of his knee" pic.twitter.com/NriTAqxEWC
— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) November 22, 2022