Veteran defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson signed a new contract with the Detroit Lions. Gardner-Johnson spent 2022 with the Philadelphia Eagles. Previously Gardner-Johnson spent time with the New Orleans Saints.
The #Lions are signing safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson to a one-year, $8 million deal with $6.5M fully guaranteed signing, per sources.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 20, 2023
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Detroit Lions, Agree to Contract
Gardner-Johnson added a layer of versatility to the 2022 Eagles defense. He was fourth on the team in tackles while simultaneously leading the team in interceptions. His six interceptions actually led the entire NFL. The fact he did this while only playing in 12 regular season games makes the achievement even more impressive. He missed five games due to a lacerated kidney but was tough enough to return for the team’s playoff run.
To start his NFL career, the Saints drafted Gardner-Johnson in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He was viewed as a hybrid prospect, splitting time between nickel and safety. In his rookie season, Gardner-Johnson only played 52 percent of the team’s snaps. Despite his lack of playing time, the NFL named him to the All-Rookie team in 2019.
In 2020 he earned more playing time and was known for getting under other player’s skin. NFL fans remember when Javon Mims sucker-punched him in the back of his helmet. Michael Thomas (his own teammate) was benched for a game for punching Gardner-Johnson in practice. Referees ejected Anthony Miller and Gardner-Johnson from a playoff game for getting in a fight. The list goes on.
Injuries cut Gardner-Johnson’s 2021 campaign short. The Saints placed him on injured reserve in mid-November, and he returned in December. Widely considered one of the top defensive backs in the league, the Saints did not have the cap space or the patience to deal with his on-field antics. In the 2022 off-season, the Saints traded Gardner-Johnson to the Eagles for a meager fifth and sixth-round pick. Gardner-Johnson hyphenates his name to pay homage to his step-father Brian Johnson.
Main Photo: Eric Hartline – USA Today Sports