New York — New York Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley has opted out of playing this season because of family health concerns, two people familiar with the decision told the Associated Press.
The 28-year-old Mosley was entering his second season with New York after signing as a free agent in 2019 following five years in Baltimore. He played in just two games last year for the Jets while dealing with a groin/core muscle injury.
The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Saturday because the team hadn’t announced Mosley’s decision. ESPN first reported that Mosley was opting out.
Mosley joins a growing list of players who are choosing to not play this season — if there is a season — amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
He is the second Jets player to opt out of the season. Offensive lineman Leo Koloamatangi also decided earlier this week to not play this year.
New England has had several players do so, including star linebacker Dont’a Hightower. Chiefs starting running back Damien Williams, a key to their Super Bowl run last season, said he wouldn’t play. Giants tackle Nate Solder is also among those opting out.
The decision by Mosley leaves the Jets without arguably their two best defensive players. New York traded safety Jamal Adams to Seattle last Saturday along with a 2022 fourth-round draft pick for safety Bradley McDougald, first-rounders in 2021 and 2022, and a third-rounder in 2021.
Mosley signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the Jets in March 2019, but his decision means the deal will now run through the 2024 season instead of 2023.
He was off to a great start in his regular-season debut with New York when he got hurt. He had five tackles and intercepted a pass from Buffalo’s Josh Allen and returned it for a touchdown in the opener. But, he injured his groin late in the third quarter of the game while breaking up a pass.
Mosley missed the next four games before coming back against New England. He acknowledged he still wasn’t totally healthy in that game, and missed the rest of the season before eventually having surgery in December.
Mosley said in June he had been “cleared for everything” and was looking forward to having no limitations during training camp. So, this was likely an extremely tough decision to make for Mosley.
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will now have to plan his defense to be without Mosley, something he needed to do for much of last season. One positive is the Jets have several backups who saw lots of playing time a year ago in Mosley’s absence.
Neville Hewitt, James Burgess, Blake Cashman, B.J. Bello and newcomer Patrick Onwuasor — who replaced Mosley in Baltimore last year — could all be in the mix to help make up for the loss of the four-time Pro Bowl selection.
The Jets also have veteran Avery Williamson returning from a torn ACL that sidelined him for all of last season. He was placed on the active/physically unable to perform list earlier this week but is expected to be ready to play when the regular season begins.
There had been some speculation that New York could cut Williamson, who’s due to make $8.5 million against the salary cap this season. But Mosley’s decision to opt out will likely mean Williamson will remain on the roster — and likely take over as the signal-calling quarterback on defense.
Brees takes a stand
Saints quarterback Drew Brees says he’ll remain standing for “The Star Spangled Banner,” but professed respect and support for those who protest racism and social injustice by kneeling during the national anthem.
“I’ll always stand for the flag because of what it means to me and to honor all those who have sacrificed, who have served and died for our country, and all those who have struggled to move this country forward,” Brees said in a conference call with reporters to discuss the onset of training camp.
“I acknowledge and respect anyone who chooses to kneel or any other form of peaceful protest to bring attention to social injustice and systemic racism that so many have endured and continue to endure in our country,” Brees continued, adding that he “always will support and advocate for Black and brown communities in the fight for social justice.”
The 41-year-old Brees, who is the NFL’s all-time leader in yards passing, completions and touchdowns, is entering his 20th NFL season and 15th with the New Orleans Saints.
But before he even took a question, Brees opened the conference call with a statement about his introspection since early June, when he became seen by many as a symbol of white privilege for saying he would never approve of anyone disrespecting the flag by kneeling during the anthem. Those comments came while protests were proliferating across the country in response to a white Minneapolis police officer’s video-recorded killing of George Floyd.
Brees faced a scathing backlash from several current and former Black teammates and other high-profile athletes such as LeBron James.
But the quarterback apologized soon afterward and said he realizes now that protesting by kneeling during the anthem, initiated by former San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick in 2016, was never about the flag.
Bosa's big bucks
Joey Bosa has become the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player after signing a five-year contract extension with the Chargers. The five-year extension is worth $135 million, which includes $78 million guaranteed at signing and $102 million overall. The deal eclipses the five-year, $125-million extension that Cleveland’s Myles Garrett signed two weeks ago. That contract included $100 million guaranteed for Garrett, a defensive end who was the top pick in 2017.
After demanding a trade last month, Browns tight end David Njoku has changed his mind and tweeted, “I’m all in Cleveland. Time to work.” Apparently unhappy that the Browns signed free agent Pro Bowl tight end Austin Hooper and then drafted Florida Atlantic tight end Harrison Bryant this spring, the 2017 first-round draft pick had his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, ask the Browns to deal him to another team.
... The Cowboys released Kai Forbath, clearing the way for Greg Zuerlein to be their kicker in 2020. Forbath signed a one-year contract in March after making all 10 kicks as the midseason replacement for a struggling Brett Maher in 2019.
... Safety Roderic Teamer and wide receiver Andre Patton were among six players released by the Chargers on Saturday
... Less than a week after left tackle Nate Solder opted out of the season, the Giants extended the contract of third-year tackle Nick Gates. The two-year extension is worth at least $6 million. The team also signed kicker Chandler Catanzaro.
... Jaguars defensive end/special teams standout Lerentee McCray has opted out of the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic.