The New York Jets made their biggest splash thus far of the free agent period resetting the inside linebacker market with a 5 year, 85 million dollar contract with 51 million guaranteed for CJ Mosley, formerly of the Baltimore Ravens.
The 27 year old has been a second team All-Pro player four different times, including last season. Throughout five years with the Ravens, he has compiled 8.5 sacks, 9 interceptions, 6 forced fumbles and 579 tackles. He has consistently been one of the best inside linebackers in the NFL and is a three down player. If the Jets are running the 3-4 they claim to be, he will slot in next to Avery Williamson and likely knock 2016 first round pick Darron Lee to the trade block.
Mosley, similar to Anthony Barr, adds a much needed shot of talent to the Jets front seven on defense. Both players are significant upgrades over any linebacker they currently have on the roster or has had on the roster since David Harris in his prime. They have went above and beyond to build what should be one of the league’s best linebacking groups.
There are potential concerns here, moreso if the Jets cannot land Le’Veon Bell or Matt Paradis. Over the past three years, the Jets have now invested a first round pick and 160M of contracts to non-pass rushing linebackers (despite their plans to convert Barr’s role). When you need to reset the market at a position you drafted in the first round only three years prior, it is not ideal. This is an offensive dominated league, so the Jets still need to further invest on that side of the football. They also are banking on both Mosley and Williamson being able to handle coverage responsibilities at the same time many offenses have become more spread out. Mosley is capable in coverage but it will be interesting to see how the Jets continue to invest in coverage players overall at the second and third level.
The Jets have pushed themselves into a situation where they needed to spend super aggressively to build their roster, this is what that looks like. As long as they can finish the job on offense and support Sam Darnold and can start drafting better, this spend will be palatable if Gregg Williams can be multiple and flexible with the team’s new investments.