Eagles reacquire Avonte Maddox and lock safety plan into place

Avonte Maddox returns to the Eagles less than a month after his release. His reacquisition probably irons out the defined role for C.J. Gardner-Johnson.

Avonte Maddox, Philadelphia Eagles
Avonte Maddox, Philadelphia Eagles / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

Breaking news comes on a Thursday. It wasn't the Philadelphia Eagles signing some had hoped for. Justin Simmons, at the time of this story's release, is still an available free agent. It wasn't the trade some have prayed for. Patrick Surtain II still plays for the Denver Broncos. Reunions are cool though... sometimes. And, that's the route Philly took to stock the secondary.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports Avonte Maddox is back. He returns on a one-year deal.

With Avonte Maddox's return, we probably end all theories that C.J. Gardner-Johnson might not play safety.

Versatility is a nice feather to have in one's cap if they make a living by playing football. Jeff Stoutland values it in his linemen, Saquon Barkley's versatility as a runner and receiver is probably why he was Philly's choice in free agency even though lines were drawn that connected the Birds with former Tennessee Titans star Derrick Henry.

The Eagles have been in love with C.J. Gardner-Johnson's versatility for a while. His first stint in the City of Brotherly Love began with a trade involving the New Orleans Saints. One of the things mentioned at that time was he could play slot corner and the safety position.

You know the story. You know it well. He patrolled the secondary at safety in Jonathan Gannon's scheme, and despite missing time with injury, he tied for the league lead in interceptions after racking up six on the campaign.

He's back after a year in the Motor City with the Detroit Lions. Vic Fangio is his new coordinator. Some wondered if C.J.'s addition and Maddox's absence at the time meant Gardner-Johnson might be asked to play slot corner.

We wouldn't rule it out. Having several options at the position is what we'd call a 'good problem'. Maybe we'll see packages where C.J. lines up in the slot but hopefully only if there's an injury.

The assumption is Maddox is the logical choice to man the starting slot corner role. Philly said after his March 7th release they were open to a reunion. Said reunion comes less than a month later. That completes another piece of the defensive puzzle.

C.J. will be expected to play deep at safety, especially seeing as how Philly will be without Sydney Brown at the beginning of the coming season as he continues to work his way back from injury. Questions remain, but things are beginning to come into focus. The only question now is if Juston Simmon's addition is even necessary.

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