Rumors: Have the Eagles made a “competitive offer” to Safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson?

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Eagles chauncey Gardner-johnson
PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 27: Philadelphia Eagles safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson (23) is carted off the field after an injury during the first half of the National Football League game between the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles on November 27, 2022 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Eagles still haven’t inked C.J. Gardner-Johnson to a contract extension. There is growing speculation that the two sides are hashing something out, but the sticking point appears to be the financials. Is the 25-year-old safety — a hybrid playmaker at the position — worth $14 million per year? The team chose not to slap the franchise tag on him to avoid paying that number.

Now, three days since the legal tampering period began on March 13, the rumor mill keeps churning out fodder. And Gardner-Johnson has done nothing to squash the rumors. He actually deleted a tweet saying “the disrespect real,” then teammate A.J. Brown stoked the flames by insinuating that an impending deal with the Eagles was in the works. Well, that is the way his tweet was interpreted, for better or worse. Ahhh, the never-ending cesspool that is NFL free agency in 2023.

So, what in the heck is going on with the Eagles and CJGJ? No one knows the answer to the $14 million question. However, the answer seems to lie somewhere in the middle, like in the $9 million to $11 million range. Geoff Mosher of Inside the Birds brought some perspective to the Eagles situation during an interview with Crossing Broad. In it, the plugged-in reporter revealed that the Eagles and Gardner-Johnson are indeed talking. The team wants him back. It’s just a matter of how much they are willing to invest. The Denver Broncos have also made a “competitive offer,” according to Mosher.

“I do know that the Broncos are in the mix so I’m sure that they’ve made a competitive offer — at least competitive as far as trying to get him,” Mosher said. “And I don’t know what the numbers are on either offer but I do know that the Eagles have been working and do want him back. If I’m C.J., I’m hoping that there are three or four teams instead of just one or two because obviously that helps the price tag but I don’t think he’s going to get $14 million a year.”

Mosher set his price range for thr former Eagles safety between $9 million and $11 million. All-Pro Jessie Bates received $16 million per year (via Spotrac) from the Atlanta Falcons and, with all due respect to Gardner-Johnson, he is a more traditional safety without the recent injury history. For comparison’s sake: Vonn Bell got roughly $7.5 million per year; Marcus Epps got $6 million per year.

Howie Roseman Discussed ‘Range’ on Contract for Free Agents

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman admitted it was going to be tough to sign every free agent when he met with reporters back at the NFL Scouting Combine. In an open and honest dialogue, the savvy front-office executive revealed that the team only had so much extra money to dole out. He was going to give key free agents a range and let them decide.

“I think it’s hard to make offers that aren’t really in the range of what a player is going to get,” Roseman told reporters on February 28. “Our players, what they have done for us and how they have worked and the character that they have shown and the success they have had, we’re just going to be honest with them and basically tell them, if it’s a guy that we’re interested in, we’ll tell him the range.

“We understand that they put themselves in this position, they’ve taken the injury risk to get in this spot, and just very appreciative of them. We had unbelievable chemistry and an unbelievable group of guys. It is going to be hard to duplicate that, but that doesn’t mean we can’t going forward.”

It seems as if Gardner-Johnson didn’t like the initial range, perhaps he is feeling low-balled. He might have a fair point, although Roseman’s corresponding moves have been viewed as a way to clear salary cap space. They let a slew of players walk in free agency: Javon Hargrave, Andre Dillard, Marcus Epps, Miles Sanders, T.J. Edwards, and Kyzir White. Then, Roseman convinced Darius Slay to return on a restructured contract, one that didn’t add any new money to it.

Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire