Chauncey Gardner-Johnson led Saints in this type of pay … again

New Orleans Saints.(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints.(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Saints cornerback/safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson was one of the biggest bright spots on the team’s defense last year. Gardner-Johnson turned into one of the NFL’s best slot cornerbacks.

Because of that, he earned himself a little something extra.

The NFL adopted a program where each team in the league gets a certain amount of money not counted against their salary cap, to give to players that out-perform their contracts. In 2020, that number was set at $8.5 million.

The second-year safety started 13 games in 2020. He totaled 66 tackles, one interception, 13 passes defended, 1.0 sack, five tackles for a loss, four hits on the quarterback, and a 57. 4 percent completion percentage allowed on him over those 13 games.

For the second straight year, Saints’ safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson led the team in performance-based pay given out by the NFL.

Gardner-Johnson proved to not only the Saints but to the NFL that he is a man to be feared in pass coverage. After making the NFL’s All-Rookie team in 2019, Gardner-Johnson followed it up with a stellar sophomore season surpassing all expectations.

As a result, Gardner-Johnson earned himself some extra money.

According to Luke Johnson of, “Gardner-Johnson led the way with $549,038 after playing 1,008 defensive and special team’s snaps in 2020. This is Gardner-Johnson’s second consecutive year leading the Saints in this category, earning an extra $278,725 after his 2019 rookie campaign.”

Now, with the Saints having to release so many players in order to get under the salary cap, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, with the release of Janoris Jenkins, is in a position to transfer to the starting cornerback position opposite Marshon Lattimore.

This could be just what CGJ needs to really explode to the next stage of his career. Most of the numbers he had last year were from playing in the slot; if you transitioned those to a full-time, outside cornerback, he could be in for a huge season.

Only time will tell, but I can tell you one thing, I hope Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is around in the black and gold for a long time. Can he lead the team in performance pay for a third straight year at the end of 2021?

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Let’s hope so.