The New Orleans Saints will face C.J. Gardner-Johnson and the Eagles in Week 17

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The New Orleans Saints have traded C.J. Gardner-Johnson to the Philadelphia Eagles, ending the team’s three-year relationship with the former fourth-round selection. Gardner-Johnson clearly wanted to be treated like a full-time safety and will now have that opportunity in Philadelphia. Playing as a more conventional box safety will also allow him to get paid like one, which was one of the biggest points of tension between the two sides.

Ironically, the two teams will face off against each other in Week 17 on New Year’s Day 2023. The Saints are visiting the Eagles for the third time in as many years, due to a couple of quirks in the NFL’s scheduling formula (Philadelphia hasn’t made the trip to New Orleans since their playoff loss on Jan. 13, 2019).

It is important to note that the Eagles have had the Saints’ number, winning both of their matchups at Lincoln Financial Field the last two years, and now the Saints have bolstered the Philadelphia roster while making theirs at least a little bit worse. The two teams have started to build somewhat of a rivalry, with each squad winning two games over the last four years. Philadelphia also made off well in their blockbuster trade with the Saints early this year. It’s made this latest trade worse in the eyes of some fans.

The Eagles have bolstered their defense this season, making it an emphasis in the draft and free agency. Now they have their final piece of the puzzle in Gardner-Johnson after landing upgrades like former Georgia Bulldogs Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean, plus starting cornerback James Bradberry and pass-rush specialist Haason Reddick. It’s shaping up for another challenging matchup for New Orleans.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire