Eagles bolster secondary with familiar face

Howie Roseman has been working his magic in free agency.

Detroit Lions safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson (2) waves at the crowd during the second half against
Detroit Lions safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson (2) waves at the crowd during the second half against / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Philadelphia Eagles continue to swing for the fences in free agency, and connect. This time the team has bolstered the secondary with a familiar face.

C.J. Gardner-Johnson is returning to the Eagles on a three-year deal worth up to $33 million. The news was first reported by NFL insider Tom Pelissero, and confirmed by Gardner-Johnson on social media shortly thereafter.

Gardner-Johnson played with the Eagles in 2022 when the team made a run all the way to the Super Bowl, and he was a big part of the team's success on the defensive side of the ball, thanks largely to his ability to create turnovers.

He led the league with six interceptions that season, despite playing in just 12 games. He also compiled 67 total tackles, and he had four tackles against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIVII. He signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions in free agency last year, but injury issues limited him to just three games as a Lion. Now, he's back in Philadelphia.

A beneficial reunion for both sides

This addition is an excellent one for Philadelphia, as the Eagles desperately need help in the secondary, and especially at the safety spot. The Eagles allowed 252.7 passing yards per game last season. Only the Washington Commanders (262.2) allowed more yards through the air. Gardner-Johnson should help in that regard.

He should also help when it comes to forcing turnovers -- something the Eagles struggled to do last season. As a team, they had just nine total interceptions and 18 total forced turnovers. Compare that to the previous season when they had 17 interceptions and 27 turnovers. Gardner-Johnson's absence wasn't the only reason for that drastic drop in defensive production, but it was a major factor.

Returning to Philadelphia should be beneficial for Gardner-Johnson too, as he had the best season of his career thus far in midnight green. New defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is noted for his affinity for safeties, and he's likely to maximize Gardner-Johnson's talents. The 26-year old safety could be in line for a monster season.

Tip of the cap to Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, who has been cleaning up in free agency so far.