CJ Gardner-Johnson suffered a torn pectoral muscle in the 2nd weekchanging his chance to make an impact this season and land a more lucrative deal for 2024. A few months later, the Lions safety has a chance to return.
There are rumors that he has no intention of closing his own try to play again this season, the fifth-year DB is indeed close to returning. Gardner-Johnson was granted medical leave on Thursday Dan Campbell said the free agent pick would be ready to return “soon,” per Eric Woodyard of ESPN.
“He's one of the X-Men. He has these mutated genes because he healed and recovered extremely quickly. It's safe,” Campbell said. “So yes, he will be ready to come here very soon.”
The Lions have not yet designated Gardner-Johnson to return from IR. He will have three weeks to activate when the training window opens. Campbell's comments indicate that the Lions will get Gardner-Johnson back before the end of the regular season. The team is in quite good shape when it comes to activation after injury, holding five IR return movements. Alim McNeill joins Gardner-Johnson he is expected to return at the end of this season.
The team lost two of its top five secondary cogs this season; cornerback Emmanuel Moseley suffered his second anterior cruciate ligament tear in two years, shortly after the Gardner-Johnson fall. The Lions added four key pieces to their secondary this offseason (CJGJ, Moseley, Cameron Sutton, Brian's Branch), but two of them have been missing for months. TracyWalkerwho suffered Achilles ruptured at the beginning of last seasonreturned to a regular role in Gardner-Johnson's absence.
While Moseley will enter free agency right after another injury-riddled season, Gardner-Johnson appears to have a chance to regain his momentum. Rumored to be a player the Eagles wanted back, Gardner-Johnson noted his market wasn't producing what he expected. Signed by A one-year contract with the Lions worth $6.5 million. Although Gardner-Johnson played under former Saints DBs coach Aaron Glenn, the third-year Lions DC kept him safe where the Eagles stationed him last season. Last year, Gardner-Johnson's six INTs tied for the NFL lead.
The soon-to-be 26-year-old defender's chances of landing a better contract may have been hampered by injury, but making a key contribution and not having a hiccup on his return from an early-season defeat would help him going forward. free agency. The Lions have exclusive negotiation rights with Gardner-Johnson until next year's legal tampering period.