NY Jets: Analyzing the financial impact of C.J. Mosley opting-out

We analyze the financial impact of NY Jets’ linebacker C.J. Mosley opting-out.

The NY Jets have officially lost their two best defensive players in the matter of a week following the Jamal Adams trade and C.J. Mosley‘s decision to opt-out of the 2020 season.

Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams worked his magic last year and he’ll have to work overtime to ensure that the Jets’ defense doesn’t take a significant step back this year.

But while we could discuss the on-field impact of Mosley’s absence, how does this affect the Jets from a financial standpoint?

Mosley is the highest-paid player on the team at the moment and the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL. The Jets were expecting an instant-impact star when they signed him to a massive five-year, $85 million contract back in the 2019 offseason.

Unfortunately, through no fault of his own, they haven’t gotten that to this point. And now they likely won’t see him step foot on the gridiron until September 2021 at the earliest.

But what does that mean for his contract? How does his decision affect the Jets both in the short-term and the long-term?

For starters, Mosley’s contract will toll, meaning that it will be pushed back another season. That means he will still have four years remaining on his deal come next season keeping him under team control through the 2024 season as opposed to 2023.

Mosley was set to have a $17.5 million cap hit in 2020 — one of the largest cap hits among defensive players in the NFL. $6 million of that came in the form of base salary, $10 million of it was a roster bonus, and an additional $1.5 million was consisting of bonus prorations (additional signing bonus money).

However, Mosley’s decision to opt-out changes that.

How is the NY Jets’ cap situation affected by C.J. Mosley’s opt-out?

Now, the 28-year-old’s cap hit for 2020 will only be the $10 million roster bonus that he was paid back in March. Mosley will also be eligible for a $350K stipend if he is a high-risk opt-out or a $150K salary advance if he is a voluntary opt-out.

The biggest relief comes in what Mosley’s cap hit will be next season. His $6 million base salary and $1.5 million prorated signing bonus will get pushed back to 2021. However, the Jets already paid him his $10 million roster bonus.

What that means is that Mosley’s cap hit in 2021 will be just $7.5 million (base salary + signing bonus). From there, the cap hits will return to normal as the base salaries increase significantly.

But for this season and the next, Mosley’s cap hit will be much less than it was originally supposed to be.

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As for the future, the Jets are now stuck with Mosley until at least the 2023 offseason — for better or worse. The team originally had an out in his contract scheduled for the 2022 offseason (after next season), but that’s been pushed back a year as his contract tolls.

Perhaps that could be a good thing as Mosley will be under contract when the Jets are hopefully more competitive. Or perhaps his massive cap hit will limit what the team is capable of doing in free agency.

There are two schools of thought here.

Either way, the simple explanation of the financial impact is as followed. In the short-term, Mosley’s cap hit will be much smaller in 2020 and 2021, but it will return to normal come 2022 and the Jets are now locked int his contract for an extra year.

Is that a good thing? Is it a bad thing? That’s up for interpretation.

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Regardless, Mosley’s absence will be felt in a huge way both on the field and on the books.

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