C.J. Gardner-Johnson has already had quite the lively and controversial offseason, and now his agency has ensured that he will remain in the headlines. They seemingly explained the reason for why the cornerback chose to sign with the Detroit Lions on a one-year contract rather than return to the Philadelphia Eagles, per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.
“1. One year deal = $8m 2. 3 yr deal = $24m max with 17m+ in yr 3 Which one you taking?” UniversalSportsMgmt Tweeted Sunday night. It is highly unconventional for an agency to reveal such candid details about an athlete's contract, so one has to wonder if this is meant to quell any backlash the 25-year-old is getting for rebuffing the Eagles.
Gardner-Johnson's agency seemingly outlining why the safety didn't re-sign with Philly. https://t.co/sxL4ASTJOy
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 20, 2023
If that was indeed Philly's offer, then Gardner-Johnson might have made the safer business decision betting on himself on a short-term deal rather than taking a risk on a backloaded contract that might not even be more profitable than the one he inked with Detroit on Sunday. A solid season for one of last year's worst defenses could do wonders for him when he re-enters NFL free agency in 2024.
Although this was his agency, Gardner-Johnson has vocalized his discontent multiple times in the last few weeks. First, he fired a shot at ex-Eagles defensive coordinator and now new Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon, and then tweeted about being disrespected for not receiving any lucrative offers. The lack of interest was noteworthy given that he tied for the league lead in interceptions last season (six), but it is always possible that Gardner-Johnson's rumblings turned off a couple executives.
Or perhaps this just want not the year of the cornerback on the free agent market. In any case, the Lions have capitalized and are solidifying themselves as sleepers in the NFC. A young player motivated to cash in should be right at home with head coach Dan Campbell's tenacious team.