The Ravens have lost one of their young defensive anchors, as inside linebacker C.J. Mosley has officially gone to the New York Jets on a massive five-year, $85 million deal.
That's an average of $17 million per year with $51 million guaranteed, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
"Four Pro Bowls in five years speaks for itself. C.J. is as reliable of a player as any defender we've had," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
Baltimore tried hard to keep Mosley in purple and black. According to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, Mosley turned down a "good offer" in Baltimore. Once Mosley hit the open market, prices skyrocketed.
The Ravens passed on giving Mosley the franchise tag at $15.4 million. After multiple teams reportedly got in on the bidding, the price for Mosley well eclipsed that mark.
According to The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec, the Ravens "sweetened their offer" to try to keep Mosley, but it wasn't enough.
There's been a lot of talk about whether Mosley should top Carolina Panthers inside linebacker Luke Kuechly's deal, which he signed in 2015 and averages $12.3 million. The escalating market was always going to put Mosley near or above that, but Mosley ended up destroying it.
The 26-year-old Mosley is in his prime and has been highly productive. He went to four Pro Bowls in his first five seasons and has been a major part of Baltimore's defense.
The 2014 first-round pick out of Alabama has been highly durable (only missed three career games), and a tackling machine who notched 105 stops last season and 132 the year before. Mosley logged nine interceptions and six forced fumbles.
His interception of Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield in Week 17 last season sent the Ravens into the playoffs.
Beyond his stellar play on the field, Mosley was well respected and liked by his teammates and coaches. He and safety Eric Weddle were the defensive signal-callers last year, and Mosley was in charge of getting the front seven lined up correctly.
The Ravens released Weddle last week and have now lost Mosley and Terrell Suggs (Arizona Cardinals) in free agency, which would give their 2019 defense a very different look and leadership.