Immediate reactions as Eagles add Justin Evans to fill need at safety

Justin Evans #30, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Justin Evans #30, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

We’ve all been wondering what the Philadelphia Eagles were going to do about that obvious hole they had in the backend of their defense after news broke that C.J. Gardner-Johnson was no longer a part of their long-term plans. We didn’t have to wait long before we were given an answer.

Per NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, the Birds are signing Justin Evans. He gives us something to discuss other than Gardner-Johnson and what he should or shouldn’t do about the sports agency that represented him.

Thank goodness. We could all use a mental break and talk about something else, no?

Here are a couple of immediate reactions as we attempt to unpack the Eagles’ addition of Justin Evans.

The top of Philly’s depth chart at the safety position will look different during the 2023 NFL season than it did during the most recent as Marcus Epps plays for the Las Vegas Raiders now, and C.J. was acquired by the Detroit Lions this past Sunday.

In Justin Evans, they get a former second-rounder that stands at six-foot-tall and tips the scales at 199 pounds. Here are a few other things that jumped out at us.

Justin Evans isn’t 30 years old.

It doesn’t sound like much when you say it out loud. It definitely isn’t the information that would qualify as being groundbreaking, but after hanging on to many of their veteran free agents and allowing the younger talent to leave for other cities, it’s nice to see Philly add someone who isn’t approaching 30 or over the threshold.

It certainly hasn’t been a youth movement, has it?

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Despite being younger, Evans, unfortunately, comes with a lengthy injury history.

Youth is good! So is durability. Honestly, most teams would rather have the latter. The downside of Evans’ addition is he wears the scarlet letter that comes with being someone that has a lengthy injury history. Since being drafted 50th overall in 2017, he has already had a rough go of it from a physical standpoint.

On September 10th of 2019, while still a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Evans was placed on injured reserve with an Achilles injury. He was placed on the PUP (physically unable to perform list) at the start of training camp on July 28th, 2020 but was eventually moved to the reserve/PUP list at the start of the regular season, The Bucs waived him with a “failed physical” designation on December 22nd of 2020.

He missed the entire 2021 NFL season and landed with the New Orleans Saints in 2022 which leads us to another intriguing nugget, one that helps us end this one on a high note.

The Eagles add another former Saints safety. As was the case with the last one, there’s some noticeable talent.

Though it didn’t last long, the C.J. Gardner-Johnson era was fairly beneficial for the Birds. They now, for the second offseason in a row, poach New Orleans’ roster to fill a hole in the backend of their defense. This Justin Evans addition could work as long as he isn’t expected to step in and lead the league in interceptions like the guy he’s being asked to help replace.

For his career, he’s appeared in 39 games with 25 starts over three seasons (2017-2018, 2022). He has 154 tackles, four interceptions, ten pass breakups a forced fumble, and a defensive TD on his resume. Surrounded by the talent on the Eagles’ defense, he could be in for a good year… hopefully.