4 former Detroit Lions who won't live up to their new contracts

These four former Detroit Lions players got lofty contracts this offseason, and they'll have a very hard time living up to them.

Mike Mulholland/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 5
Next

3. DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson

Team/Contract: Philadelphia Eagles/Three years, reportedly up to $33 million

Gardner-Johnson set the stage for his departure from the Lions by openly being unhappy with playing in a three-man safety rotation when he returned from a torn pectoral last season. He made a bit of an impact, with a couple interceptions after he returned to action, but it was easy to assume he'd find a bigger role on another team upon hitting free agency again.

The details of Gardner-Johnson's contract with the Eagles, who he played for in 2022 when he tied for the league lead in interceptions, aren't officially out there yet as of this writing (which is weird, just over a week later).

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported it's three years and worth "up to" $33 million.

That "up to" number opens the door for a low first year base salary, low overall guarantees (if any beyond the signing bonus) and a pile of incentives ranging across the spectrum of "likely" or "unlikely" to be earned.

There's no denying what Gardner-Johnson can bring to a secondary as a versatile ballhawk, and intangibly with brash attitude. But he has also missed 14, five and five regular season games over the last three seasons, for three different teams, and last year's injury that sidelined him for most of the season was not insignificant.

The Lions were not going to be bringing Gardner-Johnson back, even on a cheap contract, since he was sure to find a starting job elsewhere. Pending the concrete details to come, it seems the Eagles overpaid and overcommitted on the idea he'll be able to recapture his 2022 form back with them.