C.J. Mosley (LB)

Adam Gase Talks Front Office, Bell, Darnold

Adam Gase was named as the Jets’ new head coach back in January, and we’re confident that the 41-year-old had no idea how the next few months would unfold.

While the team seemingly did a nice job of utilizing their draft picks and abundance of cap space, their front office is in a bit of turmoil. The organization moved on from general manager Mike Maccagnan earlier this month, and Gase subsequently earned the interim GM tag. Since that time, the head coach has made several notable roster moves, including his decision to move on from a pair of former draft picks (tight end Jordan Leggett and linebacker Darron Lee).

Gase recently sat down with Albert Breer of SI.com to discuss the organization’s search for a new GM, his outlook for the season, and his thoughts on some of the team’s notable free agent additions. The entire article is worth a read, but we’ve compiled some relevant soundbites below:

On his role in finding a replacement for Maccagnan:

Christopher [Johnson]’s making the decision. There are a couple of us that are trying to help put the right type of guys in front of him. And the biggest thing, you’re looking for a guy that has leadership qualities. … [But] that has to be both of us [as GM and coach]. We both have to do it. We got to work together to accomplish that. It’s been a while—eight years since they made the playoffs. It’s been a while.

“There are a lot of people here that haven’t experienced that yet.”

On the Jets signing free agent linebacker C.J. Mosley:

“His reputation is no secret around the NFL. People know. Eric Weddle actually texted me when we were in free agency and laid it out—‘Do whatever you gotta do to get this guy, this guy is a stud.’ [Weddle] had just signed with L.A., and it was great to get confirmation on the things we’d already heard.”

On second-year quarterback Sam Darnold:

“When you watch him just throw, anyone can watch him throw and go, ‘that guy can throw the football. I think the side that I didn’t know as much, and I’ve seen it since I’ve been here, is how competitive he is as far as learning football. He wants to be as good as he can be. He wants to be a great player. And you can tell by his work ethic, that’s what he wants to do. He’s not just talking the talk.”

On the addition of running back Le’Veon Bell, who Gase was reportedly against signing:

“I think he’s very motivated to do well and help this team win. And I think the more people keep talking, the more he keeps putting his head down and working. For me, I’ve combed through a lot of the things he’s done in Pittsburgh to make sure I really understands what he loves doing, and make sure we do a good job of building this offense, because it’s very fluid and flexible, it’s chameleon-like.”

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Extra Points: Packers, Jets, Chargers, Lions

The Packers have a huge season ahead of them. After an outstanding run of success, things got stale in Green Bay under Mike McCarthy, which resulted in his firing. The team desperately needs a boost of energy, and they’re hoping they found it in new coach Matt LaFleur. The 39-year-old is apparently wasting no time taking charge in his first offseason at the helm, as Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette writes that the young coach is “taking on an enormous load” during OTAs. Dougherty says that LaFleur is hovering around the quarterbacks and coaching them up at every opportunity, which he describes as a notable departure from McCarthy, who left that up to his quarterbacks coach.

LaFleur is apparently sitting in on all the quarterbacks meetings, and Aaron Rodgers importantly is happy with the way he’s being coached up. Dougherty writes that Rodgers “appears to be embracing” LaFleur’s hands-on approach. That’s surely music to the ears of Packers fans, but Dougherty does caution that there’s some level of concern about everything he’s putting on his own plate and how much his devotion to the quarterbacks “will take away from LaFleur’s panoramic view of the team once camp and the season start.” That being said, a reinvigorated Rodgers is by far the most important thing to the team right now, so it certainly doesn’t sound like a bad thing.

Here’s more from around the league on a quiet holiday weekend:

  • The Jets have had a drama-filled offseason, to say the least. Immediately after Mike Maccagnan was fired, reports began trickling out that Adam Gase didn’t want either of the Jets’ pricey free agent acquisitions, running back Le’Veon Bell and linebacker C.J. Mosley. While the reports that Gase didn’t want the team to sign Bell have more or less been confirmed, it’s apparently not true that he didn’t want Mosley, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Cimini writes that Gase “was a strong proponent of signing Mosley,” and notes that Gase and Mosley even share the same agent, Jimmy Sexton. It sounds like the Jets have one less headache to worry about.
  • Chargers pass-rusher Joey Bosa has been a star ever since he entered the league. As a rookie he had 10.5 sacks despite missing the first four games of the season due to a contract holdout, and he’s been dominant off the edge ever since. But the Ohio State product was hobbled by a foot injury that cost him the nine games of last season, and he wasn’t quite the same after he returned. Speaking to the media recently after practice, Bosa conceded that the injury is still bothering him. “It’s just there. It’s just something I notice. It’s been getting better all offseason, so I could definitely see by camp or maybe even next year where it kind of starts fading away,” Bosa said, per Adam Maya of NFL.com. Foot injuries can be tricky, so it’s somewhat alarming that Bosa is still feeling soreness in his foot after this long, but Maya notes he did say it’s feeling “well enough for him to avoid a Lisfranc-type surgery.” This will be a situation to monitor this offseason.
  • Rookie tight ends often don’t play much right away. Tight end is widely regarded as the position that’s hardest to transition to from college to the pros, other than quarterback, and many take time to develop even if they’re drafted highly. It sounds like Lions rookie T.J. Hockenson could be an exception to that rule. Hockenson has looked good during OTAs, according to Tim Twentyman of the team’s official site, who notes that Detroit isn’t going to treat him with kid gloves, writing Hockenson will “see the field early and often.” The Lions got virtually nothing from their tight ends last season so they made it a priority to upgrade this offseason, signing Jesse James and drafting Hockenson eighth overall. It sounds like Hockenson is in line to start in his first season.

AFC North Notes: Ravens, Mosley, Steelers

Here’s a quick look at the AFC North:

  • The Jets landed linebacker C.J. Mosley in free agency, but the Ravens went as high as $14MM/year to keep him in Baltimore, according to Albert Breer of The MMQB (Twitter link). Mosley’s new Jets deal, meanwhile, will pay him an average of $17MM/year with $51MM guaranteed.
  • The Steelers restructured the contract of inside linebacker Vince Williams, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The move clears $2.8MM in 2019 cap space for Pittsburgh, but Williams is still due $5.1MM for the coming year. Just last summer, Williams re-upped with the Steelers on a three-year add-on worth upwards of $20MM. In 2018, Williams finished out with 4.5 sacks, 76 tackles, and one interception.
  • Former Jaguars tight end James O’Shaughnessy visited the Steelers this week, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The Steelers recently lost Jesse James in free agency, so O’Shaughnessy could be a depth option behind starter Vance McDonald. O’Shaughnessy, 27, set new career highs with 24 catches for 214 yards last season. He still only has one touchdown catch in his four NFL seasons, a 2017 TD against the 49ers.

Contract Details: Ford, Mosley, Crowder

Some assorted contract details from around the NFL:

Jets To Sign C.J. Mosley

The Jets are making another big splash. Shortly after agreeing to terms with Anthony Barr, the Jets are expected to sign inside linebacker C.J. Mosley to a five-year deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

The pact will pay Mosley a whopping $85MM, with $51MM in guaranteed money. We knew Mosley was going to cash in, but this is a truly massive number. As Tom Pelissero of NFL Network pointed out in a tweet, Luke Kuechly‘s deal with the Panthers had previously set the market for inside linebackers, with Kuechly making just over $12MM per year. Mosley will have an average salary of $17MM.

When Kwon Alexander, coming off a torn ACL, landed a four-year $54MM deal from the 49ers yesterday, it was a clear sign Mosley was about to break the bank. The acquisition of Mosley will make it easy for the Jets to move on from Darron Lee. We heard last night the Jets were looking to part ways with the 2016 first round pick.

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has been saying for months the team was going to be aggressive in free agency, and they’ve been exactly that. Mosley’s contract is by far the biggest ever for an inside linebacker. Mosley is still only 26, and young players like him don’t hit the open market too often.

He’s made the Pro Bowl in four of his five seasons in the league, and is a great addition to New York’s rebuilding defense. New defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is remaking the defense in his image, and has added Mosley to his core of safety Jamal Adams, Barr, defensive lineman Leonard Williams, and fellow inside linebacker Avery Williamson. The Jets have another opportunity to upgrade the defense with the third overall pick in this year’s draft.

The Ravens opted not to franchise-tag Mosley, and have now lost several players from their defense. In addition to Mosley, they let linebackers Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith walk, as well as safety Eric Weddle.

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Ravens Increase Offer For C.J. Mosley

The Ravens chose not to franchise-tag inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want him back. The Ravens are working to retain him and “have sweetened their offer,” according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (Twitter link).

While the Ravens have upped their offer, Zrebiec notes there “is still a gap” between what Baltimore is offering, and the offers from the Jets and potentially more teams. The Jets have been strongly connected to the Alabama product, and we’ve also heard teams like the Browns and Redskins are interested.

Judging by the deal Kwon Alexander landed from the 49ers, Mosley is about to cash in. Mosley is widely thought to be the better player, and Alexander just got four years and $54MM while coming off a torn ACL. In a separate tweet Zrebiec notes that the Redskins’ signing of Landon Collins might’ve diminished their interest in Mosley.

In the same tweet Zrebiec highlights the Colts as a potential suitor for Mosley in addition to the Browns and Jets. He also says it “sounds like Jets have been the most aggressive with the offer.” The 17th overall pick of the 2014 draft, Mosley has made the Pro Bowl in four of his five seasons in the league and is still only 26, so it makes sense why so many teams are interested.

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Browns Interested In C.J. Mosley

As expected, C.J. Mosley has generated immediate interest during the legal tampering period. In addition to the Jets’ and Redskins’ interest, a Ravens division rival would like to pry the linebacker away from Baltimore.

The Browns are in on the Mosley pursuit, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. They hold north of $68MM in cap space and recently released Jamie Collins, though Cleveland — which has Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey — is not desperate for a linebacker addition. Mosley, however, is far more accomplished than the Browns’ incumbents.

The four-time Pro Bowler may want to reset the market for non-rush linebackers. Collins’ $12.5MM-AAV deal is no longer the standard, and Luke Kuechly‘s $12.4MM-per-year accord tops the market. Of course, with that deal having come several years ago, it would stand to reason Mosley’s camp would want him to top that price.

With Washington having just authorized a safety-record $14MM-AAV pact for Landon Collins, it can be fairly safe to assume that will be the team’s big-money defensive deal. The Browns have far more cap space than the Redskins, but the Jets hold more than both teams. Eric DeCosta said he believed Mosley would be back in Baltimore; that will be a big test for the first-year GM, with the pursuit heating up.

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Jets Interested In C.J. Mosley

The Jets are interested in linebacker C.J. Mosley, a source tells Brian Costello of the New York Post (on Twitter). The Jets have been looking to upgrade at inside linebacker and the Ravens standout would fit the bill. 

[RELATED: Jets Acquire Kelechi Osemele From Raiders]

Mosley, 27 in June, has made four Pro Bowls and has anchored Baltimore’s linebacking corps for years. He is a three-down linebacker who stands to do well in free agency, though the Ravens would like to keep him. By the same token, the Ravens have allowed plenty of impact defenders to leave via free agency in recent years.

Kwon Alexander just reached a handshake deal with the 49ers on a four-year, $54MM deal and it stands to reason that Mosley will aim to top that pact. Mosley has been largely healthy throughout his career while Alexander is coming off of a torn ACL, so his camp will surely use that as a point of argument in negotiations.

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Redskins Shopping Zach Brown, Mason Foster

The Redskins are actively shopping several players in trade talks, including linebackers Zach Brown and Mason Foster, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Meanwhile, the Redskins are also strong players for Ravens free agent linebacker C.J. Mosley

Mosley already figured to have a huge market with teams like the 49ers on his tail. The Redskins, meanwhile, figure to make a strong play for him while overhauling their own LB corps.

Brown was solid in his second season with the Redskins, but he also clashed with coaches. In December, Brown said that he expected to be released in the offseason.

I think they’re just going in a different direction towards everything,” Brown said. “I’m going this direction, they’re going that direction.”

Brown, 29, had 96 tackles and one sack as the Redskins’ inside linebacker last season. The advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus were extremely high on him, grading him as the third-best LB in the NFL behind only Bobby Wagner and Luke Kuechly. Brown’s contract runs through 2020, but teams could still have interest in acquiring him.

Foster, 30, has spent hte last four seasons with the Redskins. He’s dealt with injuries in the past, but he started in all 16 games last season en route to compiling 131 tackles, two interceptions, and a sack.

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Jets, 49ers Interested In Kwon Alexander

The Jets and 49ers are interested in Buccaneers free agent linebacker Kwon Alexander, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter) hears. Stroud also hears that Alexander is seeking a deal that would pay him between $10-$12MM. 

Alexander’s 2018 season ended in October after he suffered a torn ACL. Prior to the injury, the linebacker was discussing an extension with the Bucs, though they were unwilling to break the $10MM/year mark for him.

A fourth-round pick in the 2015 draft, Alexander has started 46 games over three-plus years with the Buccaneers. Last season, he posted 38 tackles, two forced fumbles, and one sack while grading as the No. 53 linebacker at the time of his injury, per Pro Football Focus. In 2017, Alexander earned his first career Pro Bowl selection and graded out as PFF’s No. 37 off-ball ‘backer. In 2016, he registered an eye-popping 145 stops.

The Niners are also expected to pursue C.J. Mosley (Ravens) and Anthony Barr (Vikings), according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports, so the linebacker position is high on their agenda.

Given the interest in Alexander, the Bucs are bracing to lose him, Stroud hears. And, on Monday morning, Alexander texted a group of his teammates telling them he’s going to miss them, a source tells Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter).

The Buccaneers are in a similar boat with wide receiver Adam Humphries, says Stroud, since Humphries is expected to garner offers of $9MM-$10MM on the open market.

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