Falcons Free Agent Targets 2023: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson

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The Falcons are set to have around $56 million in cap space this offseason, and that figure could quickly balloon to nearly $70 million if Atlanta parts ways with Marcus Mariota. There isn’t a single position group that doesn’t need top-end talent or depth. Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith are entering a critical juncture in their tenure with more cap space than ever. This continues a series of potential Falcons free agent targets, moving on to Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. Below are past editions:

Falcons Free Agent Targets 2023: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson

Falcons fans are extremely familiar with CGJ, given his time in New Orleans and pesky play style. His connection to current Falcons defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen and GM Terry Fontenot could be a driving factor in him signing with Atlanta.

The Eagles traded for Gardner-Johnson last offseason after he wasn’t able to come to a contract extension agreement with the Saints. Philadelphia is probably looking to extend him because of the assets already given up in the trade, but there is a list of impending free agents for the Eagles. They won’t be able to re-sign them all.

His versatility is the most desirable attribute of his skillset. CGJ is the perfect nickel/star player for today’s NFL; he’s good enough in coverage to man the slot while still able to support in the run game and occasionally rush the passer — posting 67 tackles, six interceptions, and eight passes defended. Since he’s only 25 years old, Gardner-Johnson is in line for a lucrative long-term contract.

PFF projects him to receive a three-year, $34.5 million ($11.5 million per year) with $23 million guaranteed. Spotrac projects him to receive a five-year, $70.4 million deal ($14 million per year). As a Falcons fan, you’d obviously like the lower AAV deal, but they’re just projections.

The Falcons’ defense could use a player like Chauncey Gardner-Johnson in the secondary for his versatility, but the attitude he brings would be welcomed as well.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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