Broncos won’t be signing safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson

The Denver Broncos won’t be landing safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson in free agency.

The defensive back has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions worth $8 million, according to multiple reports.

Gardner-Johnson (5-11, 210 pounds) was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL draft out of Florida. He spent the first three years of his career playing under Sean Payton in New Orleans.

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After Payton stepped down from coaching following the 2021 season, the Saints traded Gardner-Johnson to the Philadelphia Eagles ahead of the 2022 season. In Philadelphia, Gardner-Johnson was healthy for 12 games last season and he totaled 67 tackles, eight pass breakups, six interceptions and one sack as a safety.

Earlier in his career, Gardner-Johnson played as a nickelback for the Saints. A versatile defensive back, the 25-year-old Gardner-Johnson could fit several spots in the secondary.

Through four seasons in the NFL, Gardner-Johnson has recorded 228 tackles, 36 pass breakups, 14 quarterback hits, 11 interceptions and four sacks in 55 games (43 starts).

Speculation about Gardner-Johnson potentially joining the Broncos increased last Monday when the defender followed the team’s official account plus cornerback Pat Surtain, wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and other Denver players on Instagram. A few days later, reports emerged that the Broncos were interested in signing Gardner-Johnson.


Instead, the safety will land in Detroit. Denver also showed interest in safety Nick Scott before he joined the Cincinnati Bengals. It seems clear that the team believes they could use more help at safety.

We are tracking all of the team’s free agency moves on Broncos Wire.

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Story originally appeared on Broncos Wire