The Jets paid former Ravens linebacker CJ Mosley a ton of cash in free agency before the 2019 season but New York didn’t get its money’s worth with Mosley limited to just two games due to injury. Here are Mosley’s odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year as well as the Jets’ over/under win total.
Mosley was a 2014 first-round pick out of Alabama by Baltimore. At Alabama, Mosley was a consensus All-American in 2012 and a unanimous All-American in 2013, when he earned the SEC Defensive Player of the Year Award and the Butkus Award as the nation’s best linebacker.
He was regarded as a top 15 pick, but fell in some first round projections due to his lengthy injury history and was taken 17th. Mosley was assigned the No. 57, which was worn by former Raven O.J. Brigance. The No. 57 had been unofficially retired after Brigance was diagnosed with ALS.
Mosley was terrific from the get-go with the Ravens and would be named to four Pro Bowls. In 77 regular-season games with the Ravens, Mosley has totaled 563 tackles, nine interceptions, 8.5 sacks and six forced fumbles along with six fumble recoveries. Entering last season, Mosley and Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly were the only two players in the NFL with 500 tackles, eight sacks and eight interceptions since 2014. Pro Football Focus charted Mosley with single-digit missed tackles in each of the last two seasons.
The Jets gave Mosley a five-year, $85 million deal to lure him away from Baltimore in free agency last March. That included $51 million guaranteed. Mosley’s deal set the new NFL mark for inside linebackers, and the $51 million guaranteed well outdistances the $34 million in total guarantees Kuechly signed for in 2015 – he has since retired.
Mosley made his debut with the Jets in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills, making five tackles and intercepting a pass from quarterback Josh Allen and returning it for a touchdown. However, he injured his groin in the third quarter and did not return. Prior to his injury, the Jets held a 16–0 lead, but collapsed afterwards to lose 17-16.
Mosley would play just one more game the rest of the season in which he aggravated his groin injury. On December 3, the Jets placed Mosley on injured reserve. His stat line for the season: two games played, 108 defensive snaps, nine tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery. His 2019 compensation is $19 million. Mosley isn’t going anywhere because his 2020 salary ($6 million) is fully guaranteed. So is $8 million of his $16 million salary in 2021.
With Mosley hurt, New York stumbled to a 1-7 record in the first half of the season. But the Jets went 6-2 in the second half, and one of the losses came against the Cincinnati Bengals, who had the NFL’s worst record in 2019. Mosley had offseason groin surgery and will be fine for training camp.
“I’m cleared to do everything,” Mosley said recently. “Now that I got a chance to get on the field, I can actually do more work as far as foot work and football movements. That was kind of my big thing going to the offseason, being able to cut and plant and do football moves. That won’t stop me during the season from getting back on the field. Once I got that out of the way, I’m pretty confident that I’ll be good to go.”
Even though it was a lost season, Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said Mosley’s leadership ability was one of the major reasons the Jets still finished with a defense that allowed the seventh-fewest yards per game and second-fewest rushing yards per game.
“He may be the best I’ve ever been with,” Williams recently said of Mosley’s leadership ability. “He stayed active, energized and led this football team behind the scenes.”