After having a stellar season, the Eagles could be in big trouble when it comes to their defense. With 20 Eagles players awaiting free agency, many of these prospects are defensive superstars, including safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson.
Late last month, it was rumored that Philadelphia would place a franchise tag on Gardner-Johnson, but that deadline came and went, and no tag.
Fans then began to notice some small tweaks. The first was when Gardner-Johnson changed his TikTok profile from “Eagles safety” to “NFL safety”.
Then came a tweet wishing CJGJ the best of luck in his new venture. The safety retweeted the well wishes, then quickly deleted the post.
CJ Gardner-Johnson retweeted and then quickly un-retweeted this tweet. 😬 pic.twitter.com/7rIIUCmgXs
— Eagles Nation (NFC Champs) (@PHLEaglesNation) March 7, 2023
But, the finale was Gardner-Johnson’s own message — a video captioned “All Love Philly”, reliving his best moments on the field during the 2022 season. The video ended by thanking Philadelphia. Some fellow Eagles’ players, including cornerback Darius Slay and wide receiver A.J. Brown commented on the post.
All Love Philly 💚🦅 pic.twitter.com/TpdnwqhVJx
— C.J. Gardner-Johnson (@CGJXXIII) March 8, 2023
It would seem as if Howie Roseman and the Eagles will not be re-singing the safety, and that talks have already concluded.
In one season in midnight green, Gardner-Johnson had a career-high 67 total tackles and six interceptions for 54 yards. His six interceptions were the most in the league, tying three other players. Gardner-Johnson though, did it in 12 games.
He wasn’t chosen for the Pro Bowl this season due to injury, but if the lacerated kidney wasn’t a concern, he most definitely would have been Philadelphia’s ninth player to be selected.
A franchise tag would have ensured a $14.4 million paycheck for the safety. However, according to Spotrac, his average annual market value sits at $13.3 million — a number the Eagles still don’t have.
With a cap space of just $3.8 million, Roseman can move pieces around to free up space. It ain’t over till it’s over so though it may seem as if Gardner-Johnson is gone from Philly forever, fans just never really know.
Free agency begins on March 15.