How will Chauncey Gardner-Johnson impact the Eagles secondary in 2022?

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Eagles chauncey Gardner-johnson
NEW ORLEANS, LA – OCTOBER 31: New Orleans Saints defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (22) following his fumble recovery in the endzone for a touchback during the football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints at Caesar’s Superdome on October 31, 2021 in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire)

The trade for Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is a gamble by the Eagles for a number of different reasons. But it also adds a level of intensity, fire, and physicality that the Eagles have been missing for a long time. Here are how CGJ impacts the Eagles heading into the 2022 season.

He reminds of a lot of Patrcipk Beverly of the Los Angeles Lakers. Patrick Beverly has been a thorn in the NBA’s side over the last decade. An aggressive, passionate defender, Beverly has been a pain to many of the league’s top players.

The NBA is unique in that a player with Beverly’s skillset is able to dominate all over the court without appearing much on the stat sheet.

For Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, his skillset far exceeds that of Beverly, but the way he can annoy other top players and stand toe-to-toe with them on a talent-pool, is one thing that makes him a proven commodity.

Eagles’ Secondary is Stacked

CGJ has had minimum experience at safety over his first four seasons with the Saints.

That doesn’t mean he can’t play the position.

Gardner-Johnson played just nine snaps at safety last year, with the bulk of his work being in the slot. But his range, ball skills and, aggressiveness also pair him very well with what the Eagles need as a free safety to pair with Marcus Epps.

The Eagles have a loaded secondary now with Darius Slay, James Bradberry, Avonte Maddox, Marcus Epps, and CGJ. While the group still has to play together and show they can be a cohesive unit, Gardner-Johnson has never reportedly been a bad teammate.

He is also versatile enough if the safety position doesn’t work out, Maddox has had a lot of experience there and could bump back, while CGJ could move back into the slot. Obviously, that is a worst-case scenario for the Eagles, but it’s a lot better than other teams have on their roster.

On paper, the Eagles have one of the best secondaries in football. Even if it doesn’t start well, there are a number of different things the team could do o help themselves in the long run as well.

Off the Field

On the field-wise, Gardner-Johnson is a slam dunk trade for the Eagles.

Off the field, he might just be able to turn the Eagles’ fortune from a defense that doesn’t get much respect around the league, to one of the most feared in football.

The Eagles haven’t had a player who can get under offensive players’ skin since Brian Dawkins. Gardner-Johnson isn’t Brian Dawkins, but he plays the same aggressive, agitative brand of football that matched the Hall-of-Famer that will make him a fan favorite throughout the entire city.

The videos of him inciting fights, and getting under the entire Chicago organization’s skin is something that can’t be replicated.

Patrick Beverley, and Brian Dawkins. Not a bad combination to be in for the city of Philadelphia.

Jonathan Gannon, come on down

The Eagles were a loaded roster before the trade for CGJ. Now, this defense has no excuse to not be a top 10 unit throughout football. Obviously wins and losses will come down to more than just the defense, but 2021’s passive approach that defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon employed will no longer fly.

The Eagles have all the tools necessary to be a top unit this year. Coaching and execution will greatly impact if that will happen, but it’s all going to come to a head this season.

The Draft

You would think that a top player like Gardner-Johnson would cost a hefty price in draft capital.

Welp…that didn’t happen

The Eagles got a very good player for what amounts to nothing is an absolute steal for the entire franchise and their front office.

To be fair, CGJ is in a contract year and wants to be paid top dollar. He’ll have the chance to prove himself over the course of the season at a position that continues to get even more lucrative.

The trade is an unequivocal win for Howie Roseman and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire