Shocker: The #Saints are trading DB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to the #Eagles, sources tell me and @TomPelissero. After extension talks broke down, the focus shifted from keeping Gardner-Johnson to trading him. Philly lands a starter. pic.twitter.com/k6bxvziA84
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 30, 2022
In a stunner of a move to start the day on Tuesday, the New Orleans Saints traded star safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson to the Philadelphia Eagles. The move has left Saints fans in shock, wondering why the team would trade away one of its most beloved assets. The Saints clearly feel they have the talent on the roster to make up for the loss. Here’s how they will look to replace Gardner-Johnson in 2022.
It should first be stated that conversation around “replacing” the former Florida Gator is complex. Filling his role as a slot defender is one thing, but replacing the totality of his contributions is a different point entirely. His energy, his ability to intimidate and his on-field production combined will be a challenge for the team to replace. However, they have the talent they need to make up for the loss of the largest component: on-field production.
New Orleans will likely turn to veteran cornerback Bradley Roby to man the slot in 2022. He’s had an outstanding camp this offseason totaling 6 interceptions and several pass break ups. Roby is a seasoned veteran at the position and has both been among and worked with some of the best slot corners in the NFL including Chris Harris Jr.
Roby starting in the slot Week 1 will be contingent upon the health and status of second-year cornerback Paulson Adebo, of course. If Adebo can’t go, Roby will likely start on the outside with rookie cornerback Alontae Taylor or safety Justin Evans plugging in at nickel. Assuming Evans makes the 53-man roster, which seems likely at this point. In any case, the Saints have the depth and manpower needed to fill the slot role with a couple of different options. But filling the Ceedy Duce role is a different task entirely.