C.J. Mosley didn’t model one of the Jets' new uniforms on Thursday night. But when he does wear them on game days, Mosley has no doubt he’ll live up to all the hype that came with him after signing a historic contract.
The Jets gave the four-time Pro Bowler a five-year, $85 million deal — making him the highest-paid inside linebacker in NFL history — to be the leader of their defense. New coach Adam Gase called Mosley “a culture changer.”
Mosley liked that description and looks forward to showing the Jets he’s worth every penny of the guaranteed $43 million contract.
“I pride myself a lot on that," Mosley said in his first public remarks since leaving the Ravens for the Jets. "That goes back to how you were raised and just being a good person. If you’re a bad teammate, that means that outside of football, you’re just not doing things the right way off the field.
“I kind of keep to myself, I’m more of a quiet guy off the field. But on the field, that’s when I do my most talking, my most disruption.”
Mosley, who will be 27 when the season starts, has been a disruptive force since the Ravens took him in the first round in 2014. He’s had at least 100 tackles in four of his five NFL seasons. Mosley finished with 92 three years ago in 14 games. His 105 tackles last year led the top-ranked defense in the NFL.
“I’m a field general,” Mosley said. “I’m not one of those guys who is going to throw a temper tantrum on the sideline. I’m all about making sure guys are in the right position at the right time. I’ll let my play do the talking.”
Mosley’s arrival will bolster a defense that underachieved last season.
Safety Jamal Adams made the Pro Bowl and inside linebacker Avery Williamson led the team in tackles with 120. But last year’s big free-agent signing, cornerback Trumaine Johnson, struggled on and off the field. He didn’t play in the last game of the season after being late for practice. Defensive end Leonard Williams didn’t have the impact the Jets hoped, and inside linebacker Darron Lee, a candidate to be traded, was suspended the last four games for violating the NFL’s anti-drug policy.
The Jets needed a culture change. They hired aggressive defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and brought in Mosley to help this defense become nastier and hopefully stingier. It wasn’t easy for Mosley to leave Baltimore, but he said “the new coaching staff” played a big part in signing with the Jets.
“I talked to Coach Gase,” Mosley said. “He was very excited when I talked to him about the new culture of the team, building a winning culture, and he wanted me to be a centerpiece on the defense to kind of hog the leadership role on and off the field. I felt like my five years in Baltimore put me in this position on and off the field and I’m just excited to start my new journey.”
Mosley is excited to reunite with his former Ravens teammate left guard Kelechi Osemele, and to play with ex-Steeler Le’Veon Bell instead of trying to stop him.
There is hatred between the Ravens and Steelers, but Mosley said he and Bell always talked about getting together in the offseason. Now they’re teammates.
“I’m very relieved for him to be on our side,” Mosley said. “I’m very excited. Overall he’s a great running back. He can do everything. You can put him outside, make plays. You can put him in the slot, he makes plays. Put him in motion, in screens, he can run the ball, he might throw the ball this year, who knows. He’s got a fresh set of legs. I know he’s excited to get back to it. We’re excited to see what he brings.”