Gardner-Johnson Safety or Cornerback (Franchise Tag?)

Gardner-Johnson signing has risen the Lion's excitement level significantly for the 2023 season. However, he is on a "one-year prove it deal" with the Lions. Some have compared his contract to DJ Chark from last year. At the time Brad Holmes mentioned that if Chark exceeded his contract then Holmes felt he could use the franchise tag on Chark for the 2024 season. That did not play out in 2023 and we are still waiting to see if Chark re-signs with the Lions or someone else for the 2024 season.

Questions: What happens if Gardner-Johnson outperforms his 2023 contract? The excitement level certainly indicates that it is a possibility. Gardner-Johnson is listed on the Lions team page as neither a Safety nor as a Cornerback but as "DB".

  • Think ahead to February 2024 and is franchise tagging Gardner-Johnson a probability?
  • Does a ~$14M franchise tag for a Safety vs ~$18M for a Cornerback change that decision?
  • How does a Hybrid player like him figure out their franchise tag amount?

There is a long way to go before making that decision, but it's a question to tuck away for the future as the 2023 season plays out.

*Note: The tag in 2023 for O-line is ~$18M. The tag does not differentiate between iOL and OT. I don't think that they would use that on a Guard for Jonah Jackson. Allowing them to use the tag at another position.

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