Why Jets C.J. Mosley is essentially in a contract year

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As the Jets get closer to training camp, I am examining the roster and giving you my top 25 players. Each weekday, we will reveal another person on the list, leading right into camp. I am not including rookies on this list because I do not feel it is possible to fully evaluate them before they play a game. 

No. 7: C.J. Mosley

Last year’s ranking: 2

Position: LB

Age on Opening Day: 29

How acquired: Signed to a five-year, $85 million free agent contract on March 14, 2019

Years left on contract: 4

2021 Salary Cap figure: $7.5 million

Looking back at 2020

Mosley opted out of the 2020 season in August due to concerns over COVID-19.

It was a crushing blow for the Jets’ defense, which had said goodbye to Jamal Adams a week earlier. It’s unlikely that Mosley could have kept the Jets from being terrible, but his leadership and skills certainly would have made the team better.

Mosley was coming back from groin/core muscle injuries that limited him to two games in 2019 and required surgery. 

Outlook for 2021

It is impossible to project what the Jets might get from Mosley, who basically has not played since 2018. If he recaptures the form that made him a Pro Bowl player with the Ravens, he will be a huge piece of Robert Saleh’s defense. If two years of minimal football activity have diminished his skills, he will be an overpriced, older player that the Jets will have to get rid of after this year.

For what it is worth, Mosley looked good in the spring. He was around the ball constantly and moved well. It could be a different story when the pads come on. That will be the next test for the 29-year-old.

Unless Mosley has the greatest season an inside linebacker has ever had, he will never be able to live up to the crazy contract the Jets gave him in 2019. Former GM Mike Maccagnan had some doozies and Mosley is right up there. He has already made $29 million from that contract and has played in only two games.

Mosley’s cap number jumps to $17.5 million in 2022. There is no way the Jets will keep him at that number. They can ask him to take a pay cut and keep him around or just cut him. If they do that, it will carry a $12.5 million charge in dead cap money but give them $5 million in cap savings. So, in a way, this is a contract year for Mosley because it is very unlikely he will be playing on his current contract next year. 

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