What inside linebacker C.J. Mosley brings to the table for the 2020 New York Jets is beyond incredible. Nania’s All-22 breaks it down.
Twenty-nineteen turned out to be a lost season for C.J. Mosley. The star linebacker missed four games following a groin injury that he suffered during the season opener against Buffalo, and after returning for the Week 7 clash with New England, Mosley was put on season-ending injured reserve as the groin issue persisted.
Mosley owns the richest contract of any linebacker in the NFL. As of right now, his deal is one of the biggest relative to positional average in all of football. His $85 million deal is 33% larger than that of second-ranked linebacker Jaylon Smith ($63.8 million), the third-largest gap between the first and second-richest players at one position (Ezekiel Elliott, 58%, Khalil Mack, 34%).
The Jets do not have a realistic way to get out of Mosley’s deal until after the 2021 season, so it is a good bet he is going to be around for at least two more seasons.
While Mosley’s debut season turned out to be a massive disappointment due to poor injury luck, something needs to be made clear: he was given that gargantuan deal for good reason. That reason? He’s a star. If Mosley returns healthy, he is going to represent a major upgrade over what the Jets dealt with at linebacker in 2019.
Let’s dig into some plays that demonstrate how a healthy C.J. Mosley would elevate the Jets defense to new heights in 2020.
While Mosley is a solid athlete, there is not a certain physical attribute that jumps off the screen when you watch him. He does not sprint from sideline-to-sideline like Luke Kuechly or crush skulls like Ray Lewis.
Then what makes him a great player? His outstanding intangibles.
Mosley’s football IQ is incredible. Clearly well-prepared for every opponent, he showcases excellent awareness and recognition on a consistent basis.
In Week 17 of 2018, Mosley sealed Baltimore’s AFC North title with an interception of Baker Mayfield. His assignment on this play was to blitz, but he reads Mayfield’s eyes and drops out, snagging his attempted slant route straight out of the air.
The leaping grab is impressive, but it is Mosley’s headiness that makes this a play almost no other linebacker would make. For him to intercept this pass (and not merely deflect it), he has to have a good idea of what route Mayfield is looking for. The fact Mosley was able to pick that ball off so cleanly makes it clear that he knew exactly what was going on — not just in front of him, but behind him as well.
Mosley combines his superb football mind with top-notch fundamentals. When in pursuit, he finds creative ways to evade blockers. As a tackler, he finishes with precise form, allowing him to minimize yards after contact at a high level.