NFL Free Agency: C.J. Gardner-Johnson Signs with Detroit Lions

 Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

No need to bury the lead here, free agent safety CJ Gardner-Johnson has reportedly signed with the Detroit Lions. The deal is a one-year contract worth a reported $8 million. 

Gardner-Johnson joined the Eagles via trade prior to the 2022-23 season and started 11-games for the Birds before suffering a lacerated kidney.  At the time of his injury, Gardner-Johnson was leading the league in interceptions.  The 25-year old returned to the lineup for the Eagles run to Super Bowl LVII.  

Gardner-Johnson tallied 67 total tackles, including one sack and five tackles for loss to go with six interceptions during the regular season.  He added 12 total tackles during the NFL Playoffs including four tackles against Kansas City in the Super Bowl.  

He joins a Detroit Lions team that has added plenty of players during the 2023 free agency cycle.  The Lions, perhaps sensing a change in the NFC North hierarchy, have signed notable free agents including RB David Montgomery, CB Cam Sutton, CB Emmanuel Moseley, LB Alex Anzalone, and now Gardner-Johnson.  
The Eagles will now need to fill a huge hole at the safety position.  The Birds’ have now lost both safeties, Marcus Epps and Gardner-Johnson, that started for the team in the Super Bowl.  Reed Blankenship is an internal option that played well in Gardner-Johnson’s absence this season.  Old friends Jalen Mills and Rodney McLeod could also be options heading into the 2023-24 season.