March 08, 2023
It's never a good sign when you post a sentimental video on Instagram that ends with "thank you Philly."
But less than a day after the Eagles elected not to franchise tag safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson, the 25-year-old did just that, prompting the belief that he may not return to the team in 2023.
He also posted it on Twitter:
All Love Philly 💚🦅 pic.twitter.com/TpdnwqhVJx— C.J. Gardner-Johnson (@CGJXXIII) March 8, 2023
The Birds have a bevy of expensive and high-profile free agents to retain — and most they won't — when the offseason begins in earnest later in March. Many thought that Gardner-Johnson would be a priority, with the team looking to be extremely thin in the secondary as he, Marcus Epps and James Bradberry are all set to hit the open market.
But perhaps the team will focus more on keeping around its pass rushers, or some of the other players who helped them to the best record in the NFC in 2022.
Gardner-Johnson's departure would be a little more hurtful to the Eagles since he came via trade and would wind up being just a rental player. The Eagles sent two mid-round draft picks to the Saints for him and a seventh-rounder back in the summer.
In 2022, CGJ led the NFL with six interceptions and was a playmaker in one of the best defenses in football. Without some of his accomplishments, the team might not have made it to the Super Bowl in February.
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