The Lions have added a huge piece to their secondary tonight, agreeing to a new deal to bring in former Saints and Eagles safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The contract is reportedly a one-year, $8MM deal with $6.5MM fully guaranteed at signing.
Gardner-Johnson was a versatile defensive back out of Florida, playing at both nickel and safety for the Gators. The Saints selected him in the fourth round, and despite his status as a later round pick, it didn’t take long for Gardner-Johnson to make an impact. He was starting and performing a crucial role on the Saints’ defense by Week 7 of his rookie year. He became a full-time starter in New Orleans after that.
Gardner-Johnson’s ball skills seemed to improve every year. After a rookie season that saw him intercept one pass and break up eight, he improved that in 2020 with one interception and 13 passes defensed. In his final year as a Saint, Gardner-Johnson converted some of those pass breakups into picks, recording three interceptions and seven passes defensed. After being traded to the Eagles days before the season started, Gardner-Johnson became an immediate starter and led the NFL with six interceptions while adding eight passes defensed.
The Lions have made some strong moves to improve a defense that ranked fourth in points allowed while allowing the most yards in the NFL last year. This included allowing the third-most passing yards and the fourth-most rushing yards in the league. While allowing cornerback Mike Hughes and safety DeShon Elliott to walk in free agency, Detroit has reloaded, bringing in former Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton, former 49ers cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, and Gardner-Johnson.
How Gardner-Johnson ended up in Detroit is a common example of gambling in free agency. According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Eagles offered Gardner-Johnson a multi-year contract early in the free agency period. Gardner-Johnson and his agent turned the offer down as they were seeking a higher value. Philadelphia moved past the rejection and signed James Bradberry while extending Darius Slay. This also seems to explain why Gardner-Johnson ended up with only a one-year deal. Apparently unhappy with any of the long-term deals he was presented, Gardner-Johnson opted for a one-year “prove it” deal that would allow him to increase his value for next year’s free agency.
Gardner-Johnson’s arrival in Detroit will be a reunion with head coach Dan Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn. Both were in New Orleans at the same time, with Glenn coaching his position group with the Saints. So not only did the Lions get one of the top-remaining free agents available, they also signed one they were very familiar with.
29 comments on “Lions To Sign DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson”
Sutton, mosely, Gardner Johnson, Lfg
Holy crap…it’s getting real good on that defense. Get some more d line help in draft and it’s a totally different defense..
This will be an interesting year in Detroit!
It all comes down to how Goff plays. I know he had a pretty good year last year but he’s been streaky for his career
I agree. They are putting a lot of trust in him. Hopefully, he plays decent enough to put them in a good spot and doesn’t revert back to turnover king.
He’s played well across the last 24 games with only two games south of a 70+ quarterback rating.
He did the same thing with the Rams. Remember their first Super Bowl appearance? It was him and Gurley all year. You gotta know too that Detroit had such a terrible defense that they were throwing a lot.
You can put it on the boooooooard! Yes! Yes! You’ve got to be bleeping me!
Philly couldn’t find that kind of $$$?!?
Heard Howie offered 3yr/21M…
Seems like only a mild discount to play for a winner
Actually now heard it was a multi year deal at $12mil per and he decided to test the market. He miscalculated and they moved on.
More like CGJ couldn’t find more money than what the eagles offered initially. Eagles wisely moved on and locked up their corners
I’m amazed. No one else ponies up for this guy? SMH
Wow, seems the Eagles could have matched or beat that.
I totally understand the decision Philly made. They made their offer, he turned it down, thus they adjusted their plan. Savvy move here by the Lions for swooping in and getting a really good deal. They should see very strong value on that contract, tho only for 1 season.
This seems like a lose/lose situation for the Eagles and C.J….maybe they resign the Green Goblin.
CJGJ and his agent succeeded in getting less years and less guaranteed money than Marcus Epps. Poorly played.
He must share an agent with the same savvy skill set as Lamar Jackson.
Any relation to Lyndon?
CJGJ is a tough loss but that’s a lot of guys to be paying in the defensive backfield. Howie can’t manipulate the cap as much with these 1 year deals and he know he gotta pay Hurts.
Another great get in the secondary for Detroit. GO LIONS!
Eagles, Niners, Lions top 3 NFC teams
I like your enthusiasm, but settle down.
Lions done really well so far this offseason.
If they can get Carter or Anderson in the draft that would be amazing. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them add a future superstar offensive weapon too like a Mayer or Robinson (likely first round prospects) or Washington or Gibbs (likely second round options).
RB is definitely less of a need but still could be a tempting option. TE is is more of a need, Mayer projects to be one of the best in that position in the future with his all round game. Whereas Washington is a little less polished as a receiver but is an insane blocker.
Holmes is making some great moves this offseason. This one is a steal of a deal for a really good player.
I like a lot of Lions moves but that Montgomery signing means they can’t earn an A