AP Photo/Steve Luciano
Defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson reportedly felt the Philadelphia Eagles’ contract offer was “well below his value” before he left the team to sign a one-year, $8 million contract with the Detroit Lions.
ESPN’s Tim McManus provided more information:
“According to a source with direct knowledge of negotiations, the Eagles offered him a multiyear deal early in free agency, but Gardner-Johnson didn’t take it, feeling it was well below his value. Philly moved on and struck a deal with Bradberry and reworked Slay’s deal. With the money the Eagles had set aside mostly spent, Gardner-Johnson opted for a one-year deal worth up to $8 million with the Detroit Lions.”
He played his first three NFL seasons with the New Orleans Saints before they traded him to the Eagles last August.
It turned out to be a great move for Philadelphia. Gardner-Johnson amassed 67 tackles (61 solo) and six interceptions for the NFC champion Eagles, who allowed the fewest net yards gained per pass attempt (4.9) in the NFL, per Pro Football Reference.
Philadelphia went into this offseason at risk of losing many players off that defense, however. Some have left in free agency, including Javon Hargrave, T.J. Edwards and Gardner-Johnson. The Eagles have been able to retain other players, including cornerbacks James Bradberry and Darius Slay.
As for Gardner-Johnson, he joins an up-and-coming Lions team that went 9-8 last year and finished 7-2 despite allowing the fifth-most points in the NFL.
The addition of Gardner-Johnson should go a long way toward improving that defense as the Lions look for their first playoff berth since 2016.
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