Eagles reached out to Malcolm Jenkins before trading for C.J. Gardner-Johnson

So this makes sense. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane says that the Philadelphia Eagles weren’t blind to the tight relationship between C.J. Gardner-Johnson, the subject of their big preseason trade, and his New Orleans Saints mentor Malcolm Jenkins — a fan-favorite who won a Super Bowl in Philly before returning to New Orleans, where his pro career started. McLane reports that Eagles general manager Howie Roseman consulted with Jenkins before finalizing the Saints trade, and that it may have not happened without Jenkins’ input.

“A lot of people judge him by his cover,” Jenkins said of Gardner-Johnson’s mouthy on-field persona. “That’s like his secret weapon.”

Gardner-Johnson always backed up his tall-talking in New Orleans with a comprehensive understanding of the game, but he’s playing even better with the Eagles. He currently leads the league with five interceptions. He’s been a big part of Philadelphia’s unbeaten streak to start the season. Jenkins saw so many similarities between the two of them (they even share the same birthday, ten years apart) that he couldn’t help but take the fiery young defender. It’s only fitting that Gardner-Johnson ended up following in his footsteps from New Orleans to Philadelphia.

Of course this is painful for Saints fans to cope with. The team made a bad deal after contract talks broke down with Gardner-Johnson and his relationship with coaches became frayed. New Orleans originally drafted Gardner-Johnson in the fourth round, having spent a fifth rounder to trade up for him. He’s since gone to the Eagles along with a 2025 seventh rounder in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2023 and a sixth rounder in 2024. It’s almost impressive that the Saints managed to get less for Gardner-Johnson than they spent to acquire him in the first place after he put up three strong years’ worth of tape in the NFL. Almost.

Anyway, back to Jenkins. He told McLane before the season started that “Philly’s going to love him,” and that “He’s going to check every single box.” We’re halfway through the regular season, and it sure looks like that prediction is coming true. We’ll see what Gardner-Johnson has in store when his Eagles host the Saints in Week 17 later this season.

List

Pete Werner reclaims the top spot in our Saints player power rankings going into Week 10

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire