Eagles lose Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to the Detroit Lions

After a grueling week of rumors and unrest, the Eagles finally have an answer to the biggest question they’ve faced in free agency. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson will not be playing his football in Philadelphia next year and has signed with the Detroit Lions.

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is a Detroit Lion?!

The news comes as a surprise, but not a massive one. The Eagles & CJGJ have been trying to work things out for what feels like forever, but with the market for safeties seemingly drying up, there appeared to be a disconnect between team and player as to how much the former Saint is worth.

We don’t yet know how much the Eagles offered Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, but his one-year deal worth up to $8M would have been regarded as a steal had he signed that in Philadelphia. There’s also $6.5M guaranteed which is staggeringly low. Something does feel a little off, perhaps a contract detail is missing or maybe there’s an extension coming down the line. But this is absolutely a price the Eagles could’ve afforded.

Chauncey Gardner-johnson
GLENDALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 12: Philadelphia Eagles safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson (23) flexes during Super Bowl LVII between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles on February 12, 2023 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

Gardner-Johnson had a career year in 2022. He recorded a league-leading 6 interceptions in only 12 games, as well as displaying the versatility to play at both safety and corner. His departure is a disappointing one and it leaves the Eagles with a gaping hole to fill.

Marcus Epps left the Eagles just a few days ago, which means only Reed Blankenship and K’Von Wallace are the logical heirs to the throne. This should be a position that the Eagles prioritize in the run-up to the NFL Draft.

It sucks that we won’t see Chauncey Gardner-Johnson in Philadelphia next year. His contributions in 2022 were vital to the Super Bowl run and he displayed a level of heart and production not seen since Malcolm Jenkins. Where the Eagles go next is anyone’s guess now that we finally know CJGJ won’t be coming back, but how the team handles this situation is going to be pivotal to their defensive stability moving forward.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire