Gardner-Johnson: 2023 Lions 'a little bit better' than Eagles' Super Bowl team
The Philadelphia Eagles boasted arguably the NFL's most well-rounded and dominant roster in 2022. But safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson, a starter for Philly last season who recently joined the Detroit Lions, thinks his new team is even more talented.
Gardner-Johnson said Monday that Detroit has "a little bit better" talent than what he played with in Philadelphia last year, according to Dave Birkett of Detroit Free Press.
He continued: "But that's just on me, from the outside looking in. This team has talent. We can win the division, like possibly win the division. Everybody should feel that way, but when I look at a team coming from where I came from, the teams I played on, won multiple divisions, been in playoff games, been to the Super Bowl, this team has what it takes to be a divisional (champ), get there, win the division, get to the playoffs."
The Eagles, who rostered eight Pro Bowlers in 2022, posted a league-best 14-3 record en route to reaching Super Bowl LVII. Many expected Gardner-Johnson to re-sign with Philadelphia. However, he opted to go to the NFC North on a one-year, $8-million pact despite reportedly receiving a multi-year deal offer from the Eagles before the start of free agency.
Gardner-Johnson led the league with six interceptions last season. He was considered one of the top safeties available in free agency along with Jessie Bates, who signed a four-year, $64-million contract with the Atlanta Falcons.
A cryptic tweet from Universal Sports Management, the agency that represents Gardner-Johnson, suggested that an unknown team offered him a three-year pact worth up to $24 million with around $17 million guaranteed.
Gardner-Johnson said Monday he doesn't hold anything against the Eagles.
"We went to the Super Bowl," he said. "We didn't win it, but the experience that I had, I don't have any bad blood. I mean, people overreact to a tweet in free agency but it was never disrespectful to the organization. The organization was like family, it's just you got to do what's best for your family, that's all it is."
The Lions went 9-8 last year - their best record since 2017 - but missed the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season.
In addition to Gardner-Johnson, the Lions brought in running back David Montgomery, offensive lineman Graham Glasgow, and corner Cameron Sutton, among others.