C.J. Gardner-Johnson joins the Lions on a one-year deal

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The Eagles have lost another free agent.

Safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson, whose extended stay on the open market pointed to an inevitable one-year deal, has indeed done a one-year deal, with the Lions.

The news comes from multiple reports; ESPN and NFL Media conflict on the value of the deal. ESPN has the deal as being worth “up to $8 million,” which NFL Media calls it an $8 million contract.

Either way, it’s millions short of whatever Gardner-Johnson targeted on a multi-year deal, or he would have had one. As noted on Saturday, players who remain available this far into the process usually have overshot their market.

For Gardner-Johnson, he’ll get a chance to build on a season that saw him intercept six passes in 12 games, and try again next year.

78 responses to “C.J. Gardner-Johnson joins the Lions on a one-year deal

  1. Brad Holmes is low-key making some shrewed moves this off-season. And to think, he’s got 5 of the top 85 picks next month. We haven’t won anything yet but 2023 might be the year of the Lion, stay tuned..

  2. Wow, the secondary is definitely looking revamped in Detroit. I like that we have added vets, was feeling a little unsettled at putting undue pressure on rookies to come in and be sold at the least. Most definitely cool with this move.

  3. $8 mil? Bargain, made a lot of splash plays.
    Birds shoulda been able to keep him for that!

  4. Loving these players and the deals, I think were just about ready for the draft now, lfg!

  5. Eagles made him a competitive, multi-year offer early in FA – and his agent thought he’s get more so they said no. Howie then shifted gears and used that $$$ to keep Bradberry instead and lock-up Slay. CJGJ now has to settle for another 1-year deal – for only $8M, with an inferior team with no chance of competing for a SB. Classic case of over-estimating the market.

  6. It’s almost like teams don’t value selfish unaccountable players in free agency. Take note CJ.

  7. outside of addressing the back up quarterback situation, the Detroit Lions’ off-season has been a stunning success. The free agent maneuvers, give them free rein when it comes to the draft and a draft and stash qb might be back in play. Even the possibility of drafting a qb might net them extra picks. Well played, Lions!

  8. Old Lions fan here, never been so excited for a season. With Holmes & Campbell, and no Favre/Rodgers, I can’t wait! All in!

  9. I read he didn’t want a long term deal so he signed a ‘Show Me’ deal , a risky move .

  10. Saints no longer look foolish for letting him go. He apparently tried to use the same actions and attitude on the eagles, with even worse results. He will keep getting less money each year no matter how well he does during the season. Toxic.

  11. Huge get for the Lions. They will be dangerous this season if Goff can take the next step.

  12. Detroit is going to be tough to beat this fall. I’d love to see them own the division for a few years. Great news for their fans.

  13. Great deal for both parties. Lions get short term fix, while they develop from within and Gardner-Johnson gets a nice 2023 payday. He’ll hit reset in 2024.

  14. WELL that is nothing really the saints offered him more than that to be a slot.

    Makes sense Glen was his dB coach in New Orleans. Maybe he can get his head on straight and quit screwing up deals.

  15. Lions making moves in the secondary and Interior line. Some help at LB and Dline and this team could do some real damage.

  16. Hell of a pickup by the Lions! They have seemed to addressed the glaring weakness on the team.

  17. CJ was never known to be the sharpest tool in the shed. But he has never been called humble, either.

  18. What are u doing howie…jeez!!!! The team has lost alot of FAs but its cool cuz we got penny!!!!🙄

  19. Wow, amazing work Brad Holmes. Been loving this Lions offseason so far!! From one of the worst defensive backfields to formidable in a couple quick weeks.

  20. Awesome Detroit. I was hoping for this signing but never thought it would happen. Great job Lions !

  21. This Lions secondary is shaping up to be a unit to be feared. Trust me, nobody has ever said those words before!!

  22. I immediately looked to see if they were playing new england or not. Very dissapointed to report they do not and we can’t see juju and him go at it this year.

  23. Strong move for the Lions secondary after Moseley and Sutton, not saying that is a top-5 unit but definitely an improvement on their weakest position group

  24. Great signing by the Lions to beef up their defensive back field.

  25. Wow!!! Top 5 Offense last year. Help on Defense with the FA signings & 5 Draft Picks in the top 81. Future looks pretty bright for Detroit.

  26. You can argue the lions had one of the best free agencys so far. Now the lions have 5 picks in the top 81. Nfc north goes thru det

  27. Guy clearly misread the market. He also hurt his value by complaining about coaches and contract negotiations on social media. We now have two teams in two years who let this talented young player leave. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

  28. I don’t get this, If you are doing a one year deal so you can have a big year and get paid on a long term contract … why the Lions? Do you really think they are going deep into the playoffs next year, of this team will build those stats for you?

    He didn”t get paid by New Orleans because he was unrealistic last year.

    He didn’t get paid in Philadelphia because he once again he was unrealistic about the market.

    Frankly when he came over from New Orleans the wrap on this guy was he was difficult and not a great locker room guy. We didn’t see any of that, but clearly this guy can’t get out of his own way. I wish you the best CJ and thanks for the memories but using bad judgement, being petty, and trying to hurt the team that took you to the playoffs! Well people will remember that so you better back it up with exceptional talent!

  29. With all the new Corners and Safefies, the Lions went from a leaky sieve backfield, to a lockdown backfield, all in one week!

  30. Building that back end of the defense up, gonna give Hutch and Houston more time to get home! We are a solid tackling linebacker away from being a real problem! In Brad we trust!

  31. Philly fans throwing shade on him leaving are just upset he gone. Say anything negative you want. The reality is he had six picks last year and you hate losing that production.

  32. Universal Sports Mgmt Has just tweeted out the contract that the Eagles supposedly offered CJ. First take it with a grain of salt I don’t 100 percent believe these terms because of the structure. This is not a contract the Eagles would use IMO.

    3 yr deal = $24m max with 17m+ guaranteed.

    Now they claim that real money is better than fake money…….no idea what that means the way I read those terms it’s a 2 year 8.5 million/year contract. If he was more comfortable on a one year deal you know the Eagles would have given him the 8 Million on a one year deal. Just agent speak for trying to defend a bad deal.

    My speculation here is he told his agent go find me a deal for the same amount of money as Philadelphia, so he could essentially do exactly what he did… walk out the door and screw them they same way he felt disrespected. Just a guess but it makes sense on why it took so long to get a deal.

    CJ has first round talent, clearly how he handles things off the field is getting around the league and people know what he is like. The only team willing to give a first round talent 8 million on a one year deal after going to the Super Bowl is a former coach of his. When 30 other teams won’t do that… what do you think that says? I mean a team even gave Deshaun Watson a long term deal, granted that’s a QB but think about that!

  33. Good for the lions and lions fans. You got a coach everyone wants to play for, best of luck from this bengals fan.

  34. I have a theory. He had a handshake agreement with Payton and the Broncos (followed the whole team on Twitter). DEN tried to trade a WR to the Cowboys to free up necessary cap space. When Cowboys went with Cooks instead of Jeudy (or Sutton), Payton said go get a one year deal and you’ll come next year.

    This is purely my imagination, but if it plays out, and he goes to the Broncos next free agency, you saw it here first.

  35. The Eagles don’t have a endless amount of money under their salary cap so when Johnson turned their offer down they used that money to re sign Bradberry and extend Slay. I liken the salary cap to if we have a hundred dollars and we go grocery shopping we have to shop wisely and clip our coupons and look for bargains.

  36. Feels like there’s some serious collusion going on this offseason. With the new TV money flowing and the cap rising as much as it did, you’d think we would see teams throwing money around all over and it hasn’t happened at all. Pro Bowl players are having to take 1-year deals or multi year deals for far below what was anticipated.

    Is it finally possible after like 35 years of free agency that suddenly teams have realized that throwing huge money at these guys doesn’t work, and they are all focused on building through the draft?

    Nah, they’re not that smart. Seems more likely the owners want to take this new TV money and line their pockets even more.

  37. Hilarious seeing fans of other teams have absolute mind scrambles over this. Yes, the Lions are better than your team now. Its not your imagination.

  38. The arrow is pointing up for the Lions. For a long time I had forgotten they were even in the NFC.

  39. Eagle’s fans posting above need to get a clue. Not only did CJ play with key Detroit coaches Dan Campbell & Aaron Glenn in New Orleans, Detroit went toe to toe with Philly early last season and that was well before going on a tear to win 8/9 as one of the hottest teams in the league the second half of the season. They also have 5 picks in the first 3 rounds, 2 in the first, and have (unlike Philly) brought back key FAs and plugged their few holes with external FSAs. There’s little doubt they will be playoff competitive this coming season.

  40. supercharger says:
    March 20, 2023 at 9:50 am
    Hilarious seeing fans of other teams have absolute mind scrambles over this. Yes, the Lions are better than your team now. Its not your imagination.


    Uh…the Lions were 9-8 last year. And yes, they’re trending upward.

    But before we start with the “better than [every] team talk, let’s see them put it on the field, shall we? Until they start beating everyone in sight on a consistent basis, stop yapping.

  41. supercharger says:
    March 20, 2023 at 9:50 am
    Hilarious seeing fans of other teams have absolute mind scrambles over this. Yes, the Lions are better than your team now. Its not your imagination.


    Just for reference can you tell me how many times the Lions have won the NFC championship game, division, been to the Super Bowl, won a Superbowl in the last 20 years?

    Now look at the Eagles and use your imagination.

    Just saying maybe the Lions fans are as grounded in reality as CGJ with his market!

    perfect fit actually

  42. So mush being a lions fan these days. Who would have thought it just took getting Shelia in place to make it happen!

  43. The Lions have made some impressive moves this offseason. They have moved into the playoff conversation.

  44. Saints fan here. No doubt CGJ is talented, but he created major problems in the locker room in preseason last year during his contract negotiations, and without Payton to keep him in line, the Saints cut bait quickly. Eagles fans crowed, and he did have a good year, but his attitude became a problem again, apparently. Now he will be playing for two men (Campbell and Glenn) who coached under Payton – if they can keep him focused on what matters, Detroit has an opportunity to make a major gain in the secondary. That said, this is the second time in a row that good teams cut him loose. Makes you wonder

  45. The Lions can sign all the players they want, the fact remains they are still one of the worst teams in the NFL historically. Just because you won a bunch of consecutive games (and still missed the playoffs, LOL) doesn’t mean anything, nor does signing a big name CB.

  46. This means nothing, the Raiders signed DeVante Adams and they still suck after all the stupid hype.

    Lions have a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG way to go in order have any credibility what so ever.

  47. He can ball, but he’s a bit of a loose cannon. Worth the risk for DET on a one-year deal, but probably not worth a big, long-term deal for Philly or others. The market spoke.

  48. I think of counting victories and judging wins before playing games is troublesome, just ask Eagles fans about the “Dream Team”. You are what your last record was.
    I dont know the difference between CGJ and Deshon Elliott. I think Elliott had a higher PFF grade and left for the Dolphins for $1.1 million annual salary.
    My question is why are the lions putting $8 million in salary cap towards a position with Kerby Joseph and Tracy walker. Does this mean they are worried about Walker coming back? If they wanted depth Deshon seems like a better depth player because of his cap hit.

  49. supercharger says:
    March 20, 2023 at 9:50 am
    Hilarious seeing fans of other teams have absolute mind scrambles over this. Yes, the Lions are better than your team now. Its not your imagination.


    Wow the most delusional take of all times. Aren’t the Lions one of the few teams to never ever ever win a championship? And aren’t they way older than all the others? Dude tasted a winning season for the first time in a couple decades it feels, and it took a bee line to his dome LOL

  50. kboss5150 says:
    March 19, 2023 at 10:36 pm

    Lions are going for the chip
    Yeah, mint chocolate chip, no sprinkles though… sprinkles are for winners. Lions don’t know much about that.

  51. Now all of Philly is saying they didn’t really want him anyway. Enjoy your very old, very expensive corners Philly.

  52. Yes, we Lions fans are excited. For years (decades??) all we had to look forward to winning was the draft, or offseason in general. So we know almost better than anyone that doesn’t mean squat come the fall.

    Still, after the way 2022 ended it and with this start to FA it just feels different.

    Pour me another glass of the blue kool-aid and hit me with that triple espresso, MC/DC. I’m all in.

  53. These defensive & sensitive Lions fans are in for a rude awakening.

  54. If Detroit thinks this kid puts them over the top they have a long way to go. The birds of philly still have the most talented roster in the NFL.

  55. Nice to see the Lions making moves to try to fix their defensive backfield. Can’t make any judgements until the season gets underway, but Lions fans have a reason to be excited.

    Something people are missing here is that players want to go Detroit to play for Dan Campbell. I’m sure that factored into C.J.’s decision.

  56. nothingbuttthetruth says:
    March 19, 2023 at 10:09 pm
    Eagles made him a competitive, multi-year offer early in FA – and his agent thought he’s get more so they said no. Howie then shifted gears and used that $$$ to keep Bradberry instead and lock-up Slay. CJGJ now has to settle for another 1-year deal – for only $8M, with an inferior team with no chance of competing for a SB. Classic case of over-estimating the market.

    That awkward moment when as of right now, the Lions roster is superior to the Eagles

  57. Looks like a lot of bitter denial ridden Philly fans in here a bit upset that the Eagles likely have peaked and are descending with the amount of impact players and coaches that departed the team in the last 2 weeks.

  58. Good for Lions. He seems to fit there. He’s an acquired taste. Love to hate him kinda guy. Like Dan Cambell. Going to be a problem for my Bears. Kirks going to learn real quick why Aaron is running. If Lions get a top pass rusher from the draft or land one in free agency, they’ll be extremely tough to beat.

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