Birds Land Safety
Eagles Trade For Saints Versatile DB
As the 4 p.m roster cutdown deadline looms, the Eagles are busy making last-minute moves to upgrade the team and settle on the final 53.
The Eagles shored up their biggest weakness Tuesday, acquiring versatile defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson from the Saints in exchange for draft compensation, league sources told Inside The Birds. NFL Network and ESPN were among the first to report the news.
Gardner-Johnson, a 2019 fourth-round pick, has played safety and nickel cornerback for the Saints and has the versatility and coverage acumen that Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon has been seeking for his new-look secondary that will have three new starters.
An NFL personnel source told ITB’s Adam Caplan that Gardner-Johnson has “excellent cover skills” and is a “high-energy player.” Gardner-Johnson, who played college ball at Florida, is known around the league for his trash-talking.
Gardner-Johnson enters the final year of his rookie deal and had reportedly been in a contract dispute with the Saints, who have good depth at both corner and safety, which made the defensive back expendable.
Am told the Saints & CJGJ were about $4M a year apart in contract talks on a long-term extension. With major deals looming for McCoy & Davenport, the cash-strapped Saints decided to deal from a position of strength & move on rather than lose CJGJ for nothing next spring.
— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) August 30, 2022
The Eagles also released veteran safety Anthony Harris, who had signed his second straight one-year deal this offseason after a mediocre 2021 season with the Eagles, who had also released veteran safety Jaquiski Tartt on Monday.
All NFL teams must be at 53 by 4 p.m. Tuesday.
The Eagles might not be done dealing before the deadline, or after.
Buzz around the league was that the market was heating up for Eagles wide receiver Jalen Reagor and some teams believe the Eagles will trade the 2020 first-round pick before the deadline.
The Eagles gave up a 2023 fifth-round pick and the worse of their two 2024 sixth-round picks for Gardner, and also received a seventh-round pick from the Saints in 2025.
This is the second time this year the Eagles and Saints have executed a trade. The Eagles traded the 16th overall pick, 19th overall pick and a 2022 sixth-round pick to the New Orleans Saints for a 2023 first-round pick along with the 18th overall pick, a third-round pick, a seventh-round pick in this year’s draft, along with and a 2024 second-round pick.
Gardner-Johnson played all over the Saints’ defense, including coverage linebacker in sub packages. He and Epps will likely be the starters at safety, with Epps probably seeing more deep/post safety snaps and Gardner-Johnson playing all around and showcasing his range.
For weeks, ITB has reported that the Eagles were likely to make a move at safety, and that expected starter Marcus Epps was the team’s only safety who should feel secure.
From an Aug. 18 ITB pod:
“The sense I get is that if my name isn’t Marcus Epps and I’m a safety on the Eagles, I’m not sure I’m definitely on this team. No one should feel like they definitely have a job…Just knowing Howie Roseman … he knows this is a position of deficiency. He knows right now his best safety has never started for a full year and his second-best safety, Anthony Harris, is just OK. If he makes a trade for a safety with more experience … it’s hard not to think that upgrade wouldn’t be someone who starts next to Marcus Epps.” — Geoff Mosher
– Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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