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New York Jets’ C.J. Mosley explains opt-out decision: Time to ‘find that flame again’

C.J. Mosley
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New York Jets inside linebacker C.J. Mosley discusses his opt-out decision and believes many positives will come from another lost season.

“Always look on the bright side of life. Always look on the light side of life.”

Perhaps C.J. Mosley never enjoyed the experience of Monty Python’s Life of Brian, but he sure knows how to tip his cap to the classic ending.

(Then again, maybe he knows exactly how that particular film ended.)

In his first comments since officially opting out of the 2020 NFL season, the New York Jets highest-paid on-field employee looked towards the positives when speaking with veteran Tanika Richard on Monday.

“I’m out all year so I have all this time to mentally get better, physically get better, kind of re-adjust and kind of find that flame again,” the Alabama product said on a Facebook Live event intertwined with the Wounded Warrior Project, as transcribed by Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.

Mosley, 28, dressed in just two games for his new team last year. Up 16-3 late in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills, Mosley suffered a groin injury in the end zone after dropping in his familiar hole zone in Gregg Williams’ Tampa 2 look.

He left the game and the Bills never looked back. Buffalo ripped off two touchdowns—against a stunned Jets defense—that ultimately propelled it to a come-from-behind 17-16 victory.

After missing the next four weeks (three games and the team’s early bye week), the former Ozzie Newsome first-round choice returned for Monday Night Football. It was evident from the start: He was not ready for primetime.

A visually hobbled Mosley struggled against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, a performance that resulted in surgery and a trip to season-ending IR.

Considering the four-time Pro Bowler missed just three games in total in the first five years of his career, 2019 was as foreign as any football campaign for Mosley. Nonetheless, although it was tough, opting out was the right decision for his family.

“That’s probably the biggest football decision I’ve made in a long time, probably since I picked what college I’m going to,” Mosley told Richard.

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“Because of COVID, my family is my support system with my son,” No. 57 said. “So, I didn’t want to risk that obviously. But I think just looking at the big picture, for me, I want to make sure I’m mentally and physically the best person I can be so I can be that leader I know I can be.”

Other than his lost on-field production, Mosley’s decision impacts the Jets financially thanks to his status as the team’s highest-paid player. He’ll collect his regularly-scheduled $10 million roster bonus this season, along with $150,000 or $350,000 of his base salary.

This means more cap room for New York in 2020 and 2021, but it also means Joe Douglas and the front office cannot rip through the gigantic deal sooner than they perhaps envisioned. Everything is now pushed back a full season, forcing the ability to possibly cut the veteran in order to save money to also be pushed back one year.

Mosley joins center Leo Koloamatangi as the two Jets players to opt-out during this mostly strange NFL season.

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