Eagles Bolster Secondary by Acquiring Gardner-Johnson from Saints
The Philadelphia Eagles are hoping to take another step forward under quarterback Jalen Hurts this season (the team lost in the Wild Card Round last year). Hurts will have one of the best wide receiver groups in the league with DeVonta Smith and the recently-acquired A.J. Brown.
As if the addition of Brown wasn’t a big enough off-season improvement for the Eagles, Philadelphia acquired defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson from the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday along with a 2025 seventh-round draft pick in exchange for a 2023 fifth-round pick and 2024 sixth-round pick.
Gardner-Johnson, a versatile playmaker in the Saints’ secondary, was an integral part of the team’s defense over the last three seasons, typically filling the nickel back role and coming down from the safety position to defend slot receivers. He finished sixth in targeted expected points added (-3) among all other players at the position who played at least half of their coverage snaps as a slot corner last season. He also had three interceptions.
Gardner-Johnson adds toughness to the Eagles roster and is a player who certainly knows how to get under his opponents’ skin. He fills a role left absent by Jaquiski Tartt and Anthony Harris.
Contract Extension Talks Went South with New Orleans
Because he plays slot corner, Gardner-Johnson didn’t exactly have the leverage needed to command a massive contract extension similar to some of the other top defensive backs in the league. Both he and the Saints knew this and, as a result, couldn’t come to an agreement in advance of Tuesday’s deadline to finalize the 53-man roster. A trade seemed like the best solution.
According to NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero, Gardner-Johnson is going to play full-time safety with the Eagles, meaning he should have a chance to prove himself worthy of such a high salary, whether with the Eagles or another team.
Philadelphia’s Super Bowl Odds
Philadelphia wasn’t really considered much of a Super Bowl favorite following last season. However, the team’s betting odds improved significantly after trading for Brown earlier in the offseason. Philadelphia was listed at +5000 to win the Super Bowl before the trade and +3300 after the deal. Their odds to win the NFC East also lowered from +325 to +250.
Now, the Eagles’ odds vary by sportsbooks but is as low as +2500 at DraftKings and some other books. They’re still far from a favorite, but they have the second-easiest schedule in the league and a dramatically improved roster.
The Saints, meanwhile, have +4000 odds to win the Super Bowl at most sportsbooks, but don’t tell that to head coach Dennis Allen, who still sees the team as a threat in the NFC.
“We traded Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to the Eagles. I want to say this: That was not an easy decision,” Allen told reporters on Tuesday. “We wouldn’t have done that if we didn’t feel extremely confident in the group we had.”