Dennis Allen addresses Saints’ decision to trade C.J. Gardner-Johnson

·2 min read

The biggest news at the NFL roster cuts deadline isn’t a roster cut — it’s a trade, with the New Orleans Saints shipping out C.J. Gardner-Johnson to the Philadelphia Eagles in a surprise move. And to his credit, Saints head coach Dennis Allen addressed the move head-on during his next media availability session by announcing the trade.

“I want to say this,” Allen told local media after practice on Tuesday, “That was not an easy decision. I love Chauncey. He’s been a big part of what we’ve been able to do here, specifically defensively … We wouldn’t have done that if we didn’t feel extremely confident in the group we had.”

Allen publicly wished Gardner-Johnson well and then moved on to his next question. It speaks volumes that he signed off on the trade — remember, Allen’s Saints career began as a defensive backs coach before he was promoted to defensive coordinator, and now he’s the head coach. He knows Gardner-Johnson as well as anyone in the building could hope to. And when push came to shove, he looked at the situation objectively and made the move that he felt best benefits the team.

What’s encouraging is the vote of confident Allen gave to the rest of his secondary, which was echoed by defensive leaders Demario Davis and Tyrann Mathieu. Each of them complimented Gardner-Johnson (Davis repeatedly called him a “phenomenal” player) while talking up other players with experience manning the slot, pointing to NFL veterans like Bradley Roby, P.J. Williams, and Justin Evans as guys they’re confident can help the team. Rookie draft pick Alontae Taylor is in the mix, too. As Mathieu put it, “I think we have a good room. I think we have a deep room.”

As Allen said, it’s a difficult situation to navigate. He’s trusting that the roster he’s built can absorb this loss and remain competitive. We’ll see if that trust is justified when the bright lights come on in just two weeks.

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Tracking Saints' 53-man roster cuts

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire