The C.J. Gardner-Johnson free agent signing was almost as much of a surprise to Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes as it was to fans of his team. At last week’s owners meetings, Holmes explained that they figured Gardner-Johnson was going to be way out of their price range. But as the opening week of free agency went on and the free agent defensive back remained unsigned, Holmes decided to test the waters. Just a few days later, he had locked in the one-year, $6.5 million deal with Gardner-Johnson and let the entire, sleepy-eyed Holmes household know about it.
So how did the Lions get away with signing Gardner-Johnson to such an affordable deal? Why did the Philadelphia Eagles let him walk? Are there truly any serious character concerns with him? And how will Gardner-Johnson be best used in Detroit?
We chatted with Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation to find out the answers to these questions.
Gowton had an interesting perspective. Ultimately, he believed the Lions got a great deal on a very good player who will be an ideal it in Detroit. But he also believes the Eagles were probably right to move on in this situation.
“I thought there was some buyer beware with him, because you’re paying for that 99th-percentile, best season that he had, and I still think he’s going to be a good player, but I don’t know if he’s going to be All-Pro, elite kind of player, which is the money he seemed to be looking for,” Gowton said. “I’m okay with it in that regard and the valuation, but from an Eagles roster standpoint, it’s not easy, because they lost Marcus Epps, their other starting safety and they don’t really have amazing in-house options ... But, again, I think for you guys —if we put it this way, I don’t think that Chauncey Gardner-Johnson returning to the Eagles made the most sense for the Eagles, but I do think in your situation, this is like the perfect fit for the Lions.”
Hear why Gowton gave the Lions’ an A- for the signing by listening to our entire conversation below:
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