Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley, unlike some of his fellow 2014 first-round draftees eyeing a new deal, has not held out of spring practices and has no intentions of holding out of training camp. He has previously indicated that he wants to be a Raven for life and to be remembered as the second-greatest linebacker in team history (behind Ray Lewis, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in August).
Although it is difficult to fault any player in today’s NFL for holding out in an effort to land a mega payday, Mosley’s decision to remain with the team regardless of his contract situation is emblematic of the type of leadership that makes him such a prized commodity in Baltimore. His play, of course, also speaks volumes. The Alabama product has been named to three Pro Bowls in his four-year career and has earned a reputation as something of a playmaker, as he has posted eight interceptions and eight sacks during that timeframe. Those eight interceptions rank second among linebackers over the past four years (behind Luke Kuechly‘s nine), and Mosley ranks fifth in tackles (489) and fifth in solo tackles (313) among all defensive players from 2014-17.
Perhaps just as importantly, he has been durable, having missed only two games to date. On the other hand, he can struggle in pass coverage, and while he is a very good all-around player, he is not a generational talent that makes a lucrative extension an easy call for the Ravens.
The Texans’ Benardrick McKinney recently landed a five-year, $50MM deal (with $21MM guaranteed), and the Vikings gave Eric Kendricks a similar deal in April. Mosley has a case to top both of those players, neither of whom have been selected to a Pro Bowl, and it would not be far-fetched to see him approaching or besting Kuechly’s five-year, $61MM ($27MM guaranteed) pact, which currently paces the market for inside linebackers.
But the Ravens do have a history of drafting quality ILBs, and given that Mosley is generally not the kind of game-changing player that Kuechly is, one would think Baltimore could move on and use that money elsewhere. But the Ravens typically take care of their homegrown talent, and considering Mosley’s abilities and leadership qualities, the guess here is that he and the team will come to terms on an extension that will give him around $25MM in guarantees and that averages around $11MM per year.
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