WATCH: CJ Gardner-Johnson says there’s “no bad blood” between him and the Eagles organization after signing with Detroit
Late Sunday night, we learned that S CJ Gardner-Johnson – the top pending free agent on nearly every fan’s wishlist – would not be returning to the Philadelphia Eagles. Instead, he signed a one-year, $8M prove-it deal with the Detroit Lions.
It was later revealed by CGJ’s agency that the Eagles had initially made Gardner-Johnson the priority this offseason, offering him a three-year, $24M deal, which was primarily back-loaded. The safety would have made $17M in the final year of the contract.
NFL.com columnist Jim Trotter added context to the deal Monday morning, stating that the Eagles had a chance to match Detroit’s offer to CJ Gardner-Johnson, but they declined to do so.
Regardless of how it went down, CGJ is now in Detroit, and the Eagles are without both of their starting safeties from 2022.
It would be easy to assume there was some animosity from Gardner-Johnson’s camp following this whole ordeal. He felt like he got short-changed and left to sign elsewhere. It seems pretty cut and dry.
During his opening press conference in Detroit, Gardner-Johnson cleared the air on any misconceptions about his relationship with the Eagles.
CJ Gardner-Johnson: “I don’t have any bad blood”
“I’m not disappointed. Went to the Super Bowl,” Gardner-Johnson told Detroit reporters. “Obviously we didn’t win it. I don’t have any bad blood. People overreacted with a tweet in free agency but it was never disrespectful to the organization. Organization is like family. You’ve got to do what’s best for your family.”
In the end, it looks like CJ Gardner-Johnson and the Eagles organization both did what they believe was “best for their family.” Howie Roseman quickly moved to re-sign his starting corners once CGJ rejected the initial contract offer. And Gardner-Johnson went to an up-and-coming franchise to try and prove his worth once again.
It’s disappointing that he’s gone. Getting him back would have been the ideal outcome, obviously, but there are still plenty of options out there to replace him (AKA Kevin Byard).
>> Read More: Eagles Outlook: Diving into the potential replacements for RG Isaac Seumalo