Eagles pull off trade for Saints DB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson

·2 min read

Eagles get creative, trade for starting defensive back originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Eagles finally addressed their safety problem.

All summer we knew that Marcus Epps was one of their starters but that other spot remained up in the air. On Tuesday, they hopefully solved that problem by pulling off a trade for Chauncey Gardner-Johnson from the Saints, according to a report from NFL Network.

Here are the terms of the trade, per ESPN:

Eagles get: Gardner-Johnson, Saints’ seventh-rounder in 2025

Saints get: Eagles’ 5th-rounder in 2023 and the worse of their two sixth-rounders in 2024

If Gardner-Johnson gives the Eagles' secondary a boost, even for just a year, this trade will obviously be worth it. An impressive move from Howie Roseman.

The Eagles also released last year’s starter Anthony Harris, according to a report from ESPN.

A versatile defensive back, Gardner-Johnson has played several positions but has played most as a nickel corner. The plan for him in Philly, however, will be to play as a full-time safety:

While Gardner-Johnson has been versatile in his career, the most time he’s spent at safety came in 2019, when he played 102 snaps in the box and 69 at free safety, according to ProFootballFocus. The bulk of his NFL snaps have been in the slot. It's important to note that nickel cornerback Avonte Maddox also offers versatility. It'll be fascinating to see how defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon plays this.

Either way, these moves represent a clear upgrade at the Eagles’ biggest position of need entering the 2022 season.

Gardner-Johnson is still just 24 and won’t turn 25 until December. The 2019 fourth-round pick from Florida has been in the NFL for three seasons. He has 43 games and 31 starts under his belt. Last season, he played in 12 games with 11 starts and had 3 interceptions, 7 pass breakups, 2 sacks and 46 tackles.

He also has an aggressive streak and can at times be an instigator. Eagles fans will probably really enjoy having Gardner-Johnson on the team.

As Gardner-Johnson enters the final year of his rookie contract, he has a base salary of $2.54 million in 2022. If he performs well, there’s a chance the Eagles could sign him to an extension during the season.

Here’s a look at the Eagles’ projected secondary in 2022:

CB: Darius Slay

CB: James Bradberry

NCB: Avonte Maddox

S: Marcus Epps

S: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson