Nearly a month after he was drafted, the Denver Broncos agreed to terms with third-round pick Carlos Henderson on a four-year deal on Friday. Henderson was the last member of Denver’s 2017 draft class left without a contract. The deal is worth $3.33 million, including an $818,000 signing bonus.
The 5-foot-11 wide receiver forced 48 missed tackles last season as a redshirt junior at Louisiana Tech, 26 more than any other FBS player. In 13 games, Henderson scored 23 total touchdowns (fourth in the FBS), including five in an October contest against UMass.
Henderson also posted single-game receiving yard totals of 326, 232, 202, 133, 130 and 129 during his junior year, on his way to Conference USA Offensive and Special Teams Player of the Year honors.
The 21-year-old has drawn comparisons to Steve Smith Sr., Hines Ward and Randall Cobb, because of his build, shiftiness, route-running, athleticism and mentality.
This season, the Broncos are expected to use more three wide receiver sets with Henderson manning the slot. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders should harbor the focus of defenses, leaving Henderson with mismatches across the middle and as a seam-ripper. His 4.46 speed and three return touchdowns give him the inside track to the starting kick returner job as well.
Despite not having a contract, Henderson showed his work ethic and dedication by participating in rookie orientation and OTAs in Denver. Had he been injured during the workouts, the Broncos would not have been liable.