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NY Jets: Patrick Onwuasor being asked to replace C.J. Mosley again

NY Jets (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
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NY Jets’ linebacker Patrick Onwuasor finds himself replacing C.J. Mosley once again.

When the NY Jets signed former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Onwuasor in the offseason, the expectation was that he would provide further linebacker depth and be insurance in case one of the team’s starters went down.

Come August, the Jets are ready to cash in their insurance policy.

Following the announcement that C.J. Mosley is opting-out of the 2020 season, Onwuasor is one of a number of players who will be called on to replace the talented Mosley.

Only for Onwuasor, this won’t be the first time he’s been tasked with that unenviable responsibility.

Mosley spent the first five years of his career crafting a possible Hall of Fame legacy with the Ravens being selected to four Pro Bowls. But when then-Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan offered him a record-shattering contract in the 2019 offseason, Mosley simply couldn’t turn it down.

The result was a major hole at the linebacker position in Baltimore, one that Onwuasor was immediately called on to fill. The former undrafted free agent had spent the last two seasons starting alongside Mosley, oftentimes playing second-fiddle.

But after a promising 2018 season, the Ravens were now asking Onwuasor to take on a much greater responsibility. They were asking him to fill Mosley’s role as the MIKE linebacker.

Unfortunately, the transition from weakside linebacker to MIKE was challenging for Onwuasor and he ultimately disappointed in the role, being replaced by veteran Josh Bynes midway through the season.

The Ravens opted not to re-sign Onwuasor in the offseason as he signed a fully-guaranteed $2 million contract with the Jets instead. Now, that signing is looking much more important than first anticipated.

The signing of Patrick Onwuasor appears much more important for the NY Jets in hindsight.

While the returning Avery Williamson will likely be called on to replace Mosley as the captain in the middle of the defense, it’s Onwuasor who will replace him in the starting lineup.

Others such as Neville Hewitt, Blake Cashman, and James Burgess — three players who stepped up last season as a result of injuries — will be competing with Onwuasor for the starting job alongside Williamson.

But expect the man they call “Peanut” to be given the first crack at the job.

Suddenly, Onwuasor finds himself in nearly the same position he did a year ago. Fortunately for him, he’ll have the more-experienced Williamson to assume some of the responsibility — a virtue he was not afforded last season.

This likely isn’t what Onwuasor bargained for when he signed with the Jets last April. If anything, it seemed as though there was a good chance that he would be starting alongside Mosley once again if the Jets opted to cut ties with Williamson.

No one foresaw him replacing Mosley in the base defense for the second time in his career.

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But while it may not have been anticipated, expect Onwuasor to relish in this second-chance opportunity.

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