The Saints trade one of their best defensive backs against the Eagles. CJ Gardner-Johnson goes to Philadelphia, according to Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The teams have now announced the deal.
Gardner-Johnson, who has both played safety and patrolled the slot for the Saints, attempted to hold back earlier in the camp as he pushed for extra time. Talks broke down and the Saints left the talented defender behind.
Not too much compensation was needed to let this trade fall. The Eagles will send Gardner-Johnson a fifth round in 2023 and a sixth in 2024 to the Saints and Pelissero seventh in 2025. tweets. The sixth of 2024 is the lower of the Eagles’ two rosters in that round.
The Eagles actually see Gardner-Johnson as a safety, Pelissero tweets. He will mate with Marcus Epps, which ended a strong training camp, on the position. A report earlier this month indicated that the Eagles could get a security, but Gardner-Johnson largely excelled at the slot prior to this transaction.
This makes for an interesting transition for the fourth-year veteran, especially in a contract year. Safety, but if the Jamal Adams, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Derwin James deals have shown to be a more lucrative position than slot corner.
Tuesday’s deal also marks the third splash trade for the Eagles this offseason; the Saints are now involved in two of those moves. This transaction comes after the move to acquire AJ Brown and the deal to bring in a future first-rounder from the Saints. Not a word about a possible expansion of Gardner-Johnson has come out. The Eagles can wait here, but Jalen hurtsRookie contract also offers some flexibility. The team also has no appreciable cash associated with its security position, as it has just been released Anthony Harris.
While Pro Football Focus Gardner-Johnson has rated each of the top 50 outside the top 50 at cornerback for the past two years, he has been a regular on a veteran Saints DB Corps. The former fourth-round pick has also become known for his ability to stir up opponents — both opponents and teammates, given Michael ThomasThe team-imposed suspension for 2020 came after he dealt a blow to Gardner-Johnson. It will be interesting to see how he fares in Philadelphia.
The Saints have accumulated a deep secondary in recent years, and NOLA.com’s Jeff Duncan tweets rookie Alontae Taylor is one of the players — along with Bradley Roby and former lock PJ Williams – who worked inside to replace Gardner-Johnson during camp. The team also already has a big-ticket cornerback deal (Marshon Lattimore) in a secondary that now also contains Tyrann Mathieu‘s $9MM-AAV deal.