The Detroit Lions are bolstering their defense in 2023.
Former Philadelphia Eagles safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson is signing a one-year, $8 million deal with the Lions, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported on Sunday night, per sources. Gardner-Johnson's deal includes $6.5 million fully guaranteed at signing, Pelissero added. The team announced the signing on Monday.
In his first season in Philly, Gardner-Johnson had a career-high six interceptions. The fourth-year safety, who was acquired via trade from the Saints before the start of the 2022 season, played a big role in the Eagles' defense as ball-hawk in the middle of the field to help lead the team to its first Super Bowl appearance since 2017.
Ranked No. 3 in Gregg Rosenthal's top 101 free agents list, Gardner-Johnson's versatility paid dividends for Philly's defense last season and will be an interesting fit for the Lions.
The safety's season saw a setback in Week 12 when he suffered a lacerated kidney, forcing him to miss the next five games. He returned in Week 18, helping the Eagles secure the NFC's No. 1 seed.
Gardner-Johnson, 25, joins head coach Dan Campbell and the Lions, who are heading in the right direction after the team finished with a 9-8 record last year. Detroit's defense is trending up with Gardner-Johnson's addition, joining Aidan Hutchinson, Malcolm Rodriguez and newly acquired Cameron Sutton.
The Lions hold two first-round picks (No. 6 and 18 overall) in the 2023 NFL Draft, so more defensive additions could be on the way in Detroit.