Former Eagles safety Gardner-Johnson signs one-year, $8million free agent deal with the Lions

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Safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson is leaving the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles to sign a one-year, $8million contract with the Detroit Lions.

Gardner-Johnson tied for the NFL lead with six interceptions in his lone season with the Eagles, despite missing five games with a lacerated kidney. He returned for the regular-season finale and started each of Philadelphia’s three postseason games to help the franchise to their first Super Bowl appearance since 2017.

The Eagles acquired Gardner-Johnson from New Orleans shortly before the start of the 2022 campaign. The Florida product added 67 tackles, one sack and eight passes defended in 12 regular season games.

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A fourth-round pick of the Saints in 2019, Gardner-Johnson made 31 starts in three seasons with New Orleans. He led the Saints with 13 passes defended in 2020 and tied for the team lead with three interceptions in 2021.

Gardner-Johnson is the Lions' second major addition to the secondary this offseason as they attempt to improve the NFL's 32nd-ranked defense in total yards allowed in 2022. Detroit agreed to a three-year, $33m contract with former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton last week.

The Eagles, meanwhile, have now lost five defensive starters from their 2022 unit in free agency. Defensive tackle Javon Hargrave signed a four-year, $84m contract with the San Francisco 49ers, linebackers T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White joined the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals, respectively, and safety Marcus Epps agreed to a two-year deal with the Las Vegas Raiders.