3 Immediate reactions as Eagles add Chauncey Gardner-Johnson

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson #22, Malcolm Jenkins #27, (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson #22, Malcolm Jenkins #27, (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Seemingly out of nowhere, the Philadelphia Eagles have upgraded their safety position in one fell swoop. Shortly after it was learned that Anthony Harris had been released, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported they had struck a deal with the New Orleans Saints. The Saints get a fifth-round selection in 2023 and a sixth-round selection in 2024 out of the deal. Philly will also receive a seventh-rounder in 2025.

Fourth-year safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is added to the nest by way of a trade. The terms weren’t reported immediately, but here’s what we do know.

Gardner-Johnson is a former fourth-round selection that was named to both the Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie Team and the Pro Football Focus All-Rookie Team in 2019. The 2021-2022 season was his best. He tallied 46 tackles, including 32 of the solo variety and four that resulted in a loss of yardage while also racking three interceptions, seven pass breakups, and two sacks.

He’s spent most of his time as a slot corner having only played 80 snaps at safety since 2019 per Pro Football Focus, but he joins Philly presumably to become one-half of their starting safety tandem along with Marcus Epps. With Darius Slay, James Bradberry, and Avonte Maddox rounding out the rest of the secondary, the Birds are in great shape in the backend of their defense.

He appears to be happy!

Rest easy tonight with the regular season approaching. The Eagles struck gold here.

The Saints do the Eagles a solid again.

Once upon a time, the Birds struck gold by adding a safety the Saints probably gave up on too early, Malcolm Jenkins. They just did Philly another solid, giving them perhaps the most versatile safety that they’ve had since Malcolm patrolled the secondary.

The former highly-touted rookie will soon become a fan favorite.

Eagles fans love tough guys who can back up what they promise to deliver. Check both boxes for Gardner-Johnson. Long known as one of the game’s best trash talkers, he was recently punched by teammate Michael Thomas for calling him a ‘slant guy’.

Yep, we like this young man already.

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The Eagles will, most certainly, be forced to invest heavily into the safety position now.

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is entering the final year of his rookie contract. The Eagles aren’t known for investing heavily into the safety position, but they’ll have to do so here. They should and probably will. It’s doubtful that they made this type of deal if they didn’t have the intention of signing him long-term.