With free agency looming, the Philadelphia Eagles have their hands full. In addition to Jalen Hurts, who they will look to re-sign, they’ve got a long list of guys they might lose via free agency, including C.J. Gardner-Johnson. Turns out, the Eagles might not be willing to let CJGJ even touch the free agency market, and will reportedly use the franchise tag to keep him Philly, according to NFL insider Adam Caplan.
#Eagles S CJ Gardner-Johnson “is not going anywhere” & the Eagles will franchise tag him if they can’t get a deal done on time, per @caplannfl on @InsideBirds. #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/Wsb61iJrJy— PhillyBirdsCountry (@birdscountry) February 20, 2023
Using the franchise tag would keep the safety on roster for at least one more year, though on a relatively big cap number as opposed to what it would be with a multi-year extension.
Brought in as a safety, CJGJ also played cornerback through the playoffs. That versatility makes things a little more interesting, too, because there’s a four million dollar difference between the cornerback and safety franchise tags — CB is $18.14M, safety is $14.46M.
Gardner-Johnson had a great season after joining the Eagles, and his versatility allows them to have additional flexibility as they figure out how the defense will look next year under a new coordinator. CJGJ led the NFL in interceptions (6) before being sidelined by a lacerated kidney in Week 12 and missing the next five games.
The DB’s energy definitely fits with the Philly vibe, and head coach Nick Sirianni acknowledged at the end of the season that he talks a lot of shit at practice — which Sirianni appreciates as a sign of competitive spirit.
CJGJ for his part seems to be okay with staying if that’s how it plays out.
Asked CJ Gardner-Johnson if he wants to return to the #Eagles in Free Agency.— Chase Senior (@Chase_Senior) February 9, 2023
"Who wouldn't want to come here? It's a great spot. Great place. I love it here."#FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/l6RelkUYYp