The Baltimore Ravens are one of the more daring organizations in the sense that they often display a great willingness to allow some of their bigger players to play out their contracts. Part of the reason for this is likely because of former general manager Ozzie Newsome’s fondness for compensatory picks, but it also maximizes returns on the original contract and opportunity for evaluation.
But now they face a situation in which they have to consider the future of C.J. Mosley, and if that future will be with the team. Head Coach John Harbaugh spoke on that and many other issues as he addressed the media yesterday, in which they officially announced his contract extension.
When he was asked about Mosley, he said, “yeah, you’d rather have C.J. back”, but “there’s always a give and take, of course. There are limitations with money”. Still, he hastened to add that Mosley wants to stay in Baltimore and the Ravens want to keep him there.
“I think that’s a really good formula for a player coming back”, he said. I’m just not even going to entertain the possibility right now that that wouldn’t happen. I’ll just assume that’s going to happen. That’s where I’m at”.
Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time a coach or team worked under the assumption that they would be able to retain a player, only to fail to do so. The Pittsburgh Steelers have some very recent experience in that department…
Mosley was a 2014 first-round draft pick, an inside linebacker out of Alabama. Over the course of his first five seasons, he has made the Pro Bowl four times, and has been second-team All-Pro four times as well. Even in his non-honors season of 2015, he registered 117 tackles, four sacks, a forced fumble, and seven passes defensed.
The 2018 was tied for the season in which he forced the fewest turnovers, as he had just one interception and no forced fumbles. But that one interception was the final defensive play of the season and sealed their first playoff appearance since 2014.
Over the course of his five seasons, Mosley has registered 579 tackles with nine interceptions and six forced fumbles with eight and a half sacks, along with 35 passes defensed. He has been one of the most stable and consistent inside linebackers in the NFL since that time, a plug-and-play guy who has missed just three games.
Losing Mosley would be a big blow to their defense, especially if the Ravens also choose to cut ties with Eric Weddle, though my guess is that wouldn’t happen if the linebacker ends up leaving in free agency. If they need to use the franchise tag on Mosley, however, that would make Weddle very vulnerable, and the former would obviously be the priority.