The New Orleans Saints have traded defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to Philadelphia Eagles, as per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and as confirmed by the player’s agent. 

Gardner-Johnson, who once hailed the Saints defence as the best in NFL, was unhappy with the team after they did not offer him a new contract. The Eagles will also get New Orleans’ 7th-round pick in 2025, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. In return, the Saints will receive the Eagles’ fifth-round pick in 2023 and the worse of their two sixth-round picks in 2024. 

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Chauncey Gardner-Johnson was Saints’ fourth-round draft pick in 2019. The 24-year-old was heading into the final year contract and is due a base salary of $2.54 million this season. 

He has 161 combined tackles, two sacks, 28 defended passes and five interceptions since making his debut. The defensive back started 24 of the Saints’ past 27 games dating back to 2020.

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Why are Saints trading him?

New Orleans added veteran safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Marcus Maye in free agency this offseason. 

Maye is coming off of a torn ACL and did little on-field work during OTAs and minicamp. Mathieu missed the first week of camp to attend to a personal matter.

Marcus Maye, 29 years old, had 30 tackles in 2021 along with 16 assists and one sack. Tyrann Mathieu, 30 years old, had 60 tackles. 

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With the two available, Gardner-Johnson’s role in defense takes a hit. According to Nick Underhill, the Saints and the 24-year-old could not come to an agreement on a contract extension.

The Saints viewed him as a nickel defender. He wanted to be paid as a safety. In the last month, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson refused coaching. The Eagles plan on using him as a safety.