The Philadelphia Eagles wield impressive stats all around, but it’s their August trade for C.J. Gardner-Johnson that has them winning their Saints trade.
Although some outside of Philly may find the city’s athletic success this year surprising, those who bleed green know that the Eagles have been building toward this undefeated moment for years. And for those who don’t know, general manager Howie Roseman made it abundantly clear.
The success isn’t random: the Eagles are controlling the games they’re in, building chemistry with calculated acquisitions. Josh Tolentino of the Philadelphia Inquirer recently noted how the Eagles are leading the NFL in the turnover battle, recording zero fumbles throughs seven games.
And their trades are working out nicely, too. There’s been much ado about the trade connecting A.J. Brown with Jalen Hurts, a trade has quickly registered as one of the top five quarterback/wide receiver pairings in Eagles history. The blockbuster mid-season trade for Robert Quinn is already paying dividends as well.
But there’s a crucial, overlooked trade that allows the Eagles to lead the league in another unbelievable way. When the Eagles traded a 2023 fifth-round pick and a 2024 sixth-round pick for safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson and a 2023 seventh-round pick from New Orleans Saints on August 25, it proved to be a fortuitous decision for Philadelphia. Already, Gardner-Johnson is costing less and producing more than a third of NFL defenses.
To add insult to injury, Gardner-Johnson alone now has more interceptions than the entirety of his former defense in New Orleans.
Former Saints DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson proves to be another Eagles hit in 2022
Roseman has every reason to be confident and every right to remind Eagles fans of what he brought to this team, even beyond the city’s first Lombardi.
There was a lot of fanfare when he scooped up Brown and Quinn, stars in their respective rights with reputations that preceded their Philadelphia arrival. Gardner-Johnson wasn’t as much of a headliner, although the 24-year-old defensive back did make the PFWA All-Rookie Team in 2019. But this season, Gardner-Johnson already has five interceptions, which matches his five career interceptions before 2022. In eight weeks, he’s already matched his previous career total — and exceeded the total interceptions of ten different NFL teams.
In a way, Gardner-Johnson’s numbers are an indication of what to watch for in the postseason. A strong, game-changing secondary is exactly what’s going to give an edge to the Eagles, who have proven to be formidable on both sides of the ball.
It’s also a regretful observation for those in New Orleans, who had almost as many scuffles as a Saint as he did interceptions.