The Detroit Lions proved that they are making that push for the playoffs in 2023 by adding yet another big-time player to their secondary.
The Detroit Lions fell just short of making the playoffs last season, but they ended it on a high note by defeating the rival Green Bay Packers on “Sunday Night Football.”
There was a lot to be excited about if you were a Lions fans, and general manager Brad Holmes has ensured that the team has a better shot of making the playoffs in 2023. After making some big time moves in free agency, the Lions signed one of the top free agents available.
On Sunday, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that the Lions signed former Philadelphia Eagles safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson to a one-year, $8 million contract. As part of the deal, Gardner-Johnson is guaranteed $6.8 million.
The #Lions are signing safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson to a one-year, $8 million deal with $6.5M fully guaranteed signing, per sources.
His agent, Kevin Conner of @UniSportsMgmt, confirmed the deal, which reunites Gardner-Johnson, Dan Campbell and Aaron Glenn. pic.twitter.com/RAIAdqYgPv
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 20, 2023
Detroit has let it be known, they are chasing that playoff berth while their contention window is wide open.
C.J. Gardner-Johnson is the latest big addition to Lions’ secondary
This past season, one of Detroit’s main weaknesses was their pass defense. They gave up an average of 245.8 passing yards per game (third-most in NFL) and 26 passing touchdowns (tied-eighth), per ESPN. So, the Lions set their focus on the secondary, and they have crushed it in terms of additions.
They were able to bring in one of the top cornerback options available in Cam Sutton on a three-year, $33 million contract. Also, they added former San Francisco 49ers corner Emmanuel Moseley on a one-year, $6 million deal. Then, with their latest move, they bring in Gardner-Johnson.
Additions to the Detroit Lions secondary:
🏈CB Cam Sutton (Steelers)
🏈CB Emmanuel Mosely (49ers)
🏈S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (Eagles) pic.twitter.com/CfHoyP9vwE
— Jarrett Bailey (@JBaileyNFL) March 20, 2023
This past season with the Eagles, Gardner-Johnson recorded 67 combined tackles (61 solo, six assisted), eight passes defended, a league-high six interceptions, and five tackles for loss. In coverage, Gardner-Johnson allowed 38 receptions for 446 yards and three touchdowns on 52 targets, per Pro Football Reference.
The Lions have crushed it in free agency, and they could make some more splashes during the NFL Draft. Let’s not forget that they have two first-round picks (No. 6, 18) to work with thanks to the Matthew Stafford-Jared Goff trade with the Los Angeles Rams.
Detroit is looking to build off of an incredible second half to their 2022 season and ensure that they don’t have to bank on another team to help them make the playoffs. With the changeover in the NFC North, the Lions could very well be the favorites (on paper) to win the division, especially after adding Gardner-Johnson.