C.J. Mosley (LB)

AFC Notes: Ravens, Brady, Mosley

We heard at the end of December that the Ravens are prepared to slap pass rusher Matt Judon with the franchise tag if they cannot work out a long-term deal with him, but recent comments from head coach John Harbaugh suggested Judon could be suiting up elsewhere in 2020. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic says Baltimore may be disinclined to use the tag, as it would take up a big chunk of their cap and could alienate the emotional and outspoken Judon.

On the other hand, Judon is the only proven pass rusher on the team, and there’s no guarantee the Ravens can win a bidding war for one of this year’s top FAs or land a player at the bottom of the first round of the draft who can make an immediate impact, so GM Eric DeCosta will have to carefully weigh a number of factors.

Let’s round up a few other AFC items, starting with several more nuggets out of Baltimore:

  • The Ravens and veteran CB Jimmy Smith have mutual interest in a reunion, per Zrebiec. However, if Baltimore brings back Smith, it’s unlikely that CB/S Brandon Carr also returns. Meanwhile, the Ravens will almost certainly cut safety Tony Jefferson.
  • Regardless of what they do with Judon, the Ravens will have to add three or four starting-caliber players to their front seven, so Zrebiec expects the team to focus on those areas heavily in the draft, and he fully expects DeCosta to draft a WR or two.
  • Add Jay Glazer of The Athletic to the list of pundits who believe a Tom BradyRaiders partnership makes sense. Like others, Glazer thinks the Chargers are an obvious non-Patriots landing spot, but given the international presence that the Las Vegas outfit is expected to have, both Brady and the team would stand to benefit from a Sin City marriage.
  • In a recent interview with Eddie Paskal of the team’s official website, Raiders GM Mike Mayock said he believes the move to Las Vegas will help the club attract top free agents, even those not named Brady. The fact that Nevada does not have a state income tax will obviously be appealing, as will the sleek new stadium and the general excitement surrounding the franchise. Mayock also noted that he will look to add wide receiver help this offseason.
  • Jets LB C.J. Mosley had to undergo groin/abdominal surgery about six weeks ago, but he expects to be ready for the team’s offseason program this spring, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. One of last year’s biggest free agent fish, Mosley played in just two games for Gang Green, and he has started a vegan diet in the hopes of giving himself an edge.

Jets Place C.J. Mosley On IR

The Jets have placed linebacker C.J. Mosley on injured reserve, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Mosley inked a five-year, $85MM deal with the Jets in the offseason but, so far, has played just two games in green. 

For a while now, there has been talk of season-ending surgery for Mosley and his groin/abdomen injury. Now, it appears he’ll be going under the knife, even though he tried hard to avoid that scenario.

If I can do anything to avoid ending my season, I’m going to try it,” Mosley said in November. “That’s really the main reason why I got the shot. I have a 50-50 chance. I’d rather do that than cut my body open. That was the thinking on that. … Worst-case scenario: I’ll have to get surgery if (recovery from the PRP injections) next week doesn’t go well.”

Mosley’s cap number spikes from $13MM to $17.5MM next year on a deal that includes $43MM in fully guaranteed money. It was a record-breaker for off-ball linebackers and the Jets hope it won’t be a backbreaker for them as they look to reshape their defense yet again.

To take his place on the roster, the Jets turned to another ex-Raven: defensive back Bennett Jackson. The 2014 draft pick was waived by Baltimore this week, shortly after he made his long-awaited NFL debut.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

C.J. Mosley Considering Surgery

Time is running out for C.J. Mosley to return to the Jets this season. The high-priced linebacker has missed all but two of the Jets’ 2019 games, and surgery could be on tap soon.

The sixth-year defender underwent a platelet-rich plasma procedure recently and is hoping that will stimulate his recovery from a groin/abdomen injury to the point he can return without going under the knife. But Mosley said if the injury does not show much improvement in the next two weeks, when he will attempt to do more on-field work, he will undergo season-ending surgery.

If I can do anything to avoid ending my season, I’m going to try it,” Mosley said, via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. “That’s really the main reason why I got the shot. I have a 50-50 chance. I’d rather do that than cut my body open. That was the thinking on that. … Worst-case scenario: I’ll have to get surgery if (recovery from the PRP injections) next week doesn’t go well.”

The Jets reshaped the off-ball linebacker market this offseason by signing Mosley to a five-year, $85MM deal. He played in Week 1, but this injury sidelined him for weeks afterward. When he returned in Week 7 against the Patriots, he aggravated the malady and was informed he would need at least five weeks to heal. It seems unlikely Mosley will be back during that timetable, and with the Jets at 3-7, the team may decide to shut down its highest-paid player.

Mosley’s cap number spikes from $13MM to $17.5MM next year. The former Ravens first-round pick received $43MM in fully guaranteed money but is obviously behind on his effort to justify the Jets’ investment, though he did return an interception for a touchdown in his first game with the team.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Jets’ C.J. Mosley

The Jets will be without linebacker C.J. Mosley for the next five or six weeks, head coach Adam Gase told reporters (Twitter link via Kimberly Jones of NFL.com). For now, the veteran will try to avoid surgery, but he’ll be re-evaluated towards the end of his estimated recovery timetable to determine next steps. 

The Jets inked Mosley to a five-year, $85MM deal this offseason. So far, that deal hasn’t panned out. Thanks to a groin injury, Mosley missed every game from Weeks 2-6. He returned for the Jets’ Week 7 drumming at the hands of the Patriots, but that only made the issue worse.

Now, the four-time Pro Bowler is looking at another extended absence. At minimum, he’ll miss games against the Dolphins, Giants, Redskins, Raiders, and Bengals. It’s possible that he’ll be back to face the Dolphins in a second matchup between the AFC East’s worst teams, but the Jets could opt to keep him on the sidelines if they are completely out of the playoff picture.

Mosley’s contract pays him an average of $17MM/year with $51MM guaranteed in total. Practically speaking, the aggressive cash flow of the deal will not allow the Jets to escape the deal until sometime after the 2021 season, when they can release Mosley to save $15.5MM against $3MM in dead money.

In some positive Jets news: quarterback Sam Darnold is expected to play through his left thumb injury. That means he’ll be under center for the Jets’ Sunday afternoon contest against the Dolphins in Miami.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets’ C.J. Mosley Set For Return

At long last, the Jets will have C.J. Mosley back in action. The linebacker has been out since Week 1, but he says he’ll suit up on Monday night to face the Patriots. 

The Jets signed Mosley on a five-year, $85MM deal this offseason, with the idea that he would anchor the front seven. Unfortunately, a groin injury kept him off the field for weeks, but he’s finally set to play and, hopefully, show the form that made him a four-time Pro Bowler.

The Jets managed to upset the Cowboys without Mosley on Sunday and they’ll look to keep things rolling against their bitter rivals. Last time out against the Patriots, the Jets lost 30-14. This time around, they’ll have quarterback Sam Darnold under center and Mosley on the other side of the ball, though oddsmakers still have them as ~9 point underdogs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

No Timetable For Jets’ C.J. Mosley

This offseason, the Jets handed linebacker C.J. Mosley a five-year, $85MM contract to anchor their defense. So far, however, they’ve only seen him in action once, and it’s not clear as to when they’ll see him on the field again. 

Mosley has yet to practice at full speed after injuring his groin last month, Manish Mehta of the Daily News writes. With that in mind, Mosley’s status is uncertain heading into this week’s game against the Eagles, and perhaps beyond this week.

Running straight ahead felt pretty good,” Mosley said. “Cutting and those type of motions are still…up in the air. That’s the part where I can’t really test it out because, if I hurt it more, then it will set me back more. That’s been the tricky part. Just figuring out how to try to test that full-speed motion without damaging it more.”

Mosley is just one of several injured Jets players. On the other side of the ball, the Jets are still awaiting word on the status of Sam Darnold, who was not cleared for activity on Monday.

The hapless Jets are winless through three games and their situation might not improve when they face the Eagles on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Notes: 9/20/19

Here are the latest significant injury-related notes from around the league:

  • Marshall Newhouse, whom the Patriots signed last week, will serve as the club’s starting left tackle until Isaiah Wynn returns, per Doug Kyed of NESN.com (via Twitter).
  • As expected, Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson will not play in Week 3, but the club is still optimistic about the availability of Alshon Jeffery and Dallas Goedert, as Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94WIP.com tweets.
  • Buccaneers LB Devin White will not play this weekend, per Greg Auman of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard is out of the concussion protocol and will play in Week 3 per Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (via PFT). Rookie QB Daniel Jones will be making his first start, so Shepard’s presence will be especially helpful.
  • The Seahawks are getting closer to full strength, as both WR David Moore and defensive end Ezekiel Ansah are expected to play in Week 3, per Curtis Crabtree of Pro Football Talk. We had already heard that Ansah was likely to make his Seattle debut this weekend, but Moore’s return is earlier than expected, even after we learned at the end of August that he would avoid IR.
  • Top Jets defenders C.J. Mosley and Quinnen Williams are not expected to play this week, as Rich Cimini of ESPN.com tweets. The Week 3 outlook is also bleak for WR Demaryius Thomas and LB Jordan Jenkins.
  • Tyler Kroft‘s Bills debut may be put on hold for awhile longer. Kroft was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, but as Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk writes, Buffalo HC Sean McDermott told reporters that Kroft injured his ankle in Thursday’s practice and will undergo further evaluation.

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.