The Detroit Lions are adding even more firepower to their secondary. After signing both Emmanuel Moseley and Cameron Sutton to bolster the cornerback room in free agency, the Lions are reportedly adding one of the bigger free agency pieces. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Lions are signing former Eagles defensive C.J. Gardner-Johnson to a one-year deal. Per NFL Network, the contract is worth $8 million, $6.5 million of which is guaranteed.
Gardner-Johnson is a versatile piece that can play both nickel cornerback and safety. Last year, he was tied for the NFL lead with six interceptions.
He is also a familiar face to this regime. Gardner-Johnson played three years in New Orleans with the Saints, alongside both Lions head coach Dan Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn.
Gardner-Johnson joins a safety group that includes Tracy Walker—who is recovering from a torn Achilles—and Kerby Joseph, who logged four interceptions in his rookie season in 2022.
This secondary—which was one of the worst units in the NFL last year—has suddenly taken a complete 180, and now may be considered one of the team’s strengths. With Gardner-Johnson in the fold, Detroit’s entire starting group when in their nickel defense could very well be new faces.