6 free-agent safeties the Commanders could sign in 2024

Could the Commanders be in the market for safety help in free agency?

Kyle Dugger
Kyle Dugger / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders could sign C.J. Gardner-Johnson

If you want aggressiveness, you can’t go much bigger than C.J. Gardner-Johnson. The well-traveled young veteran is still only 26 years old but has already been with three different teams. He's also had well-publicized feuds with both opposing wide receivers and his teammates.

Some risks come along with bringing Gardner-Johnson on board. He missed almost all of 2023 for the Detroit Lions with multiple injuries. He has found it hard to stay healthy for an entire season. But when the defensive back is on the field, he tends to make things happen.

Gardner-Johnson is a huge hitter who also has excellent coverage skills. In the four seasons before 2023, he totaled 12 interceptions and 36 passes defended. As with Kyle Dugger, this is the exact type of productivity Dan Quinn and Joe Whitt Jr. cultivated for the Dallas Cowboys.

If the Commanders are convinced that Gardner-Johnson’s injury issues are more flukish than chronic, they have to answer one other question. He is a very emotional player who has tended to wear out his welcome wherever he has been, despite obvious production.

Now that he has been in the league for five seasons and has dealt with his first serious injury, the Commanders need to determine whether he has matured from the hot-headed youngster who got into an altercation with star teammate Michael Thomas when he was playing for the New Orleans Saints. If he has, then some team will be getting someone capable of making game-changing plays as both a big hitter and a ball hawk.