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5 Questions with Eagles Today Learning about C.J. Gardner-Johnson

Edward Kracz of Eagles Today answers five questions regarding the Detroit Lions signing defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.

Edward Kracz covers the Philadelphia Eagles for Eagles Today. He answered five questions about new Detroit Lions defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.

1.) What are the Lions getting in new defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson?

Ed Kracz: They are getting a young 25 year-old playmaker who finds his way to wherever the ball is.

He was a bit of a mystery in Philly because he didn’t talk to reporters very often, so it’s hard to speak what sort of impression he made in the locker room or off the field.

2.) How come Gardner-Johnson did not end up signing long term with the Eagles?

Kracz: There are a lot of theories for this, but I think you have to look around the NFL, not just at the Eagles, as to why he was still available nearly a week into free agency and why he had to take a one-year deal that is well under his on-field value.

In my opinion, some think he is a risk from an off-the-field standpoint. He is a first-round talent, but was a fourth-round pick. Not sure what red flags there were, but there had to be something that caused that sort of drop in 2019.

The Saints were not going to sign him, so they traded him last summer.

There are reports that he was offered a three-year deal from Philly early in free agency, but wanted more money than what the deal would have paid him. Evidently, GM Howie Roseman had a number he wasn’t budging from and wasn’t going to wait around. So, he moved on and brought back his two cornerbacks – James Bradberry and Darius Slay – before they could move on.

3.) What are his biggest strengths and weaknesses? 

Kracz: He is a ballhawk, as his six interceptions would attest. But, he has a tendency to gamble a bit, though some of the NFL’s best playmakers do that. To me, he was the second-best playmaker on the Eagles in his one season, behind pass rusher Haason Reddick.

4.) Which position in the secondary is best for Gardner-Johnson to succeed at? He seems to have strong positional versatility, watching him on film.

Kracz: He was traded to Philly from New Orleans on Aug. 30 last year, after having spent the first three years playing in the slot for the Saints. The Eagles moved him to safety, and after about a month’s adjustment, he took off and had a lot of success. When he returned from missing five games late in the year due to a lacerated kidney, he played some in the slot. 

In my opinion, he can player either spot, and play it well.

5.) How was he as a player to cover? And tell us something about Gardner-Johnson that many people may not know about. 

Kracz: Nobody who covers the team in Philly got to know him well, since he often declined to talk to reporters during open locker room periods throughout the week. When he did, he didn’t talk for long. The most I talked to him was during Super Bowl week in Arizona, when he talked about how he matured during his time in Philly.