Source: Lions agree to 1-year deal with C.J. Gardner-Johnson

Free agent safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson signed with the Detroit Lions on Monday, the team announced.

The Lions didn't disclose terms, but a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Sunday night that the deal is for one year and worth up to $8 million.

A source told ESPN's Tim McManus that the Philadelphia Eagles made a multiyear offer to keep Gardner-Johnson at the beginning of free agency which he didn't accept, feeling his market value was much higher. The Eagles then shifted their attention to re-signing cornerbacks James Bradberry and Darius Slay.

Gardner-Johnson was the top defensive free agent remaining, according to ESPN's rankings.

The Lions have addressed their secondary in this year's free agency period. Besides the deal with Gardner-Johnson, the Detroit has also reached agreements with cornerbacks Cameron Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley.

Gardner-Johnson said Monday he anticipates that the winning he experienced in Philadelphia and New Orleans will help him be a positive influence for the Lions.

"So, I think it's just like will it stick, the way you perceive the message and get it out because they're young. I'm young, I'm only five years in, but being around the veteran presence I understand helps me to become a leader and I think that's what they brought me here for and I think that's the next step for me. It's not football for me anymore, it's about being a better person, a better teammate for the next person."

Gardner-Johnson said he's not disappointed with the Eagles and doesn't have "bad blood" with the organization.

"The organization treated me like family, but you've got to do what's best for your family. That's all it is," he said.

The 25-year-old was acquired by the Eagles from the Saints in late August along with the Saints' 2025 seventh-round draft pick for a 2023 fifth-round pick and the latter of Philly's two sixth-round picks in 2024.

Gardner-Johnson was asked to make a position switch from cornerback to safety upon his arrival in Philadelphia and effectively did so. He finished the regular season tied for the most interceptions in the NFL (6) despite missing five games with a lacerated kidney. He became the only Eagle since the 1970 merger to record interceptions in five consecutive games.

Gardner-Johnson, who has the coverage traits and ball skills to fit in multiple defensive schemes, was part of a secondary that allowed the fewest passing yards on average during the regular season (180 yards per game).

A fourth-round pick by the Saints in 2019, he has 11 interceptions, 36 passes defended and 20 tackles for loss over four seasons.

ESPN's Eric Woodyard and Matt Bowen contributed to this report.