One of the best remaining defensive free agents is off the board after C.J. Gardner-Johnson agreed to terms with the Detroit Lions. He signed a one-year deal with Detroit, leaving the Philadelphia Eagles after one season.
ESPN reporter Adam Schefter reported the news Sunday night.
Last season, Gardner-Johnson had one of the best seasons of his career, setting a career-high in interceptions with six, while being the co-interception leader.
C.J. Gardner-Johnson's Detroit Lions contract breakdown:
With the safety market not as lucrative as many expected, C.J. Gardner-Johnson's deal shows the Lions got him for a true bargain. His one-year deal is worth $8 million, with $6.5 million guaranteed.
Some think that Gardner-Johnson is playing this season on a one-year "prove it" deal. Per Jeff McLane and other Philadelphia media outlets, the Eagles offered Gardner-Johnson a multi-year deal early in free agency. He was looking for more money than was offered, which led to the team re-signing James Bradberry and extending cornerback Darius Slay.
As a result, Garner-Johnson settled for a one-year deal with the Lions that will hopefully lead to a long-term contract in 2024.
Can the Detroit Lions win the NFC North this season?
Last season, the Detroit Lions finished in second place in the NFC North behind the Minnesota Vikings. They finished the season 9-8, winning five out of their last six games after starting the season 1-6.
Detroit has been one of the more aggressive teams in free agency. They added three key pieces to their secondary in C. J. Gardner-Johnson, Cameron Sutton, and Emmanuel Moseley. They also signed running back David Montgomery and guard Graham Glasgow on the offensive side. Detroit also has two first-round picks and four picks in the top 55 picks in the draft.
The Vikings are looking to get younger and create space as they've gotten rid of Adam Thielen and Eric Kendricks, and they could shop Dalvin Cook.
The Packers are expected to trade Aaron Rodgers to the Jets and will be out of the NFC North. Detroit has a good chance of competing for the division this year and could be a contender in the NFC.