UPDATE: The Eagles were given the opportunity to match the Detroit Lions’ deal, but Philadelphia declined.
Today in a news conference, Gardner-Johnson stated, “I’m not disappointed. Went to the Super Bowl. Obviously we didn’t win it. The experience I had, I don’t have any bad blood. People overreacted with a tweet in free agency but it was never disrespectful to the organization. Organization is like family. You’ve got to do what’s best for your family.”
CJ Gardner-Johnson just tweeted “The disrespect is real!” pic.twitter.com/hZ9hScTogu
— Chase Senior (@Chase_Senior) March 16, 2023
CJGJ ended by stating that what’s in the past is in the past with the Eagles. The Eagles’ pictures he deleted off of his Instagram have since been put back up.
Leaving Philly, he certainly left a bad taste in some Eagles’ fans mouths with his actions over the week. But, wide receiver A.J. Brown defended him. On social media, Brown wrote, “Great teammate. Glad he took care of his family most importantly. It’s a dangerous game that we play. Can’t be upset [with] a man for doing what he feel like is best for him and his family. Detroit got a great one!”
The Philadelphia Eagles are losing another free agent. On Sunday, it was reported that safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson will sign with the Detroit Lions for the 2023-2024 season.
After attempting to keep the 25-year-old in midnight green, Gardner-Johnson and his agent did not like the long-term offers that were available.
— NFL (@NFL) March 20, 2023
C.J. GARDNER-JOHNSON LEAVES PHILLY AFTER ONE YEAR
Last season, Gardner-Johnson was acquired through a trade from the New Orleans Saints. Making the switch from cornerback to safety, he excelled in the position. He tied for the most interceptions in the league (6), despite missing five games. Adding to this, Gardner-Johnson finished with a career-high 67 sacks and one sack.
He became the only Eagle since 1970 to record an interception in five consecutive games and was part of one of the best defenses, allowing the fewest passing yards on average.
Going into the 2023 offseason, he became one of 20 free agents on the Eagles. Prior to the start of free agency, there were discussions that the Eagles would use the franchise tag on Gardner-Johnson if necessary. The tag would have guaranteed him approximately $14.4 million.
Then in a change of events, Gardner-Johnson took to social media to say an early “goodbye” to the City of Philadelphia. With fans left confused, there were many rumors that the safety was trying to work out a deal with the Eagles.
As time passed many thought this was positive as there was no news that Gardner-Johnson was talking to other teams. But, the Eagles were also singing back guys of their own, including James Bradberry and Darius Slay. Though a multi-year offer was made, Gardner-Johnson expected more money despite what the current market estimated.
He will now take a one-year, “prove-it” deal worth $8 million ($6.5 million guaranteed) with the Detroit Lions. This comes with the hope of getting the big contract he was seeking the following season.
Gardner-Johnson will now join a safety group including Tracy Walker and Kerby Joseph. Walker is recovering from a torn Achilles and Joseph logged four interceptions as a rookie. The Lions also signed cornerbacks Emmanuel Mosely and Cameron Sutton. With the addition of Gardner-Johnson, Detroit will now have a strong secondary.
To make matters even better for the safety, he will reunite with Dan Campbell and Aaron Glenn, both of which he worked with as coaches in New Orleans.