C.J. Mosley: What’s a fair contract for the Pro Bowl Linebacker?


C.J. Mosley is one of the league’s premier inside linebackers. Mosley will be a free agent following the 2018 season, and it’s time to lock him up long-term.

The Baltimore Ravens are known for letting their players leave via free agency and then cash in on those compensatory picks. Not every player they draft is deserving of this notion, however.

Guys like Paul Kruger and Pernell McPhee made sense to let walk, while guys like Jimmy Smith made even more sense to hang on to. Not everyone can be kept, however, as the Ravens were certainly reluctant to let guys like Kelechi Osemele sign outside of Baltimore. But then we have players who are franchise caliber guys. Guys you can’t let leave no matter what.

C.J. Mosley is the epitome of what that guy looks like.

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C.J. Mosley is everything you want in a Raven. Well-built. Instinctive. A leader. A Boy-Scout off the field. You name it, Mosley has it. That’s why you can’t just let someone like Mosley walk out the doors of M&T Bank Stadium for another team.

But now comes the hard question: How do you pay him? After all, Mosley is an unrestricted free agent following 2018 and should be in line for a big pay-day. Signing Mosley ASAP is a priority, and slapping him with the Franchise Tag seems extremely likely. But that’s not what we’re here to talk about.

No, we want to decide how much we should be paying the great C.J. Mosley. The best way to do this is to look at some of the other highest paid linebackers in the league and set a standard for an extension.

Comparing and contrasting:

The following make up the highest paid inside linebackers in the league (per spotrac.com):

  1. Luke Kuechly – Carolina Panthers – 5-years $61.8 million (total) $34.4 million guaranteed
  2. Bobby Wagner – Seattle Seahawks – 4-years $43 million (total) $22 million guaranteed
  3. Alec Ogletree – New York Giants – 4-years $42.75 million (total) $21.4 million guaranteed
  4. Benardrick McKinney – Houston Texans – 5-years $50 million (total) $21 million guaranteed
  5. Eric Kendricks – Minnesota Vikings – 5-years $50 million (total) $25 million guaranteed

The top five players are a bag of mixed nuts. Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner are the top two linebackers in the game. The next three are either overrated (Alec Ogletree) or simply haven’t fully arrived yet (Benardrick McKinney and Eric Kendricks). So, where does Mosley rank among these men?

It seems fair to say Mosley is probably a step behind Kuechly and Wagner. The two have combined for seven First-Team All-Pro selections compared to Mosley’s, well, zero. However, the other three have no Pro Bowl nods and a combined two Second-Team All-Pro honors. Mosley has three of each.

Among the names we just highlighted, Mosley stacks up against each of them very well. Kuechly and Wagner look like Hall of Famers, and yet Mosley still creeps up behind them in most major categories. As for the other three? Forget about it! Mosley is far superior to them.

Now that we have an idea of what guys are being paid, we can come to some kind of a baseline.


Bobby Wagner signed his extension way back in 2015, and is being severely underpaid for the work he is doing. Mosley is out-producing the other three, so the best bet for negotiating a contract would be comparatively to Luke Kuechly’s contract.

In the “one-up” society we live in today’s NFL, it’s very likely we see C.J. Mosley become the NFL’s highest paid inside linebacker. Kuechly is currently the highest paid, and rightfully so. Mosley, a 3x Pro Bowl selection, seems like a worthy candidate to surpass Kuechly as the league’s top paid inside linebacker.

Therefore, we can come to terms with an extension that looks something like this:

5-years $65 million (total) $35 million guaranteed

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This is more than a fair contract for someone who has been a concrete building block during a reloading on the Ravens defense. While Mosley is certainly no Ray Lewis, he has easily stepped up to spearhead a fierce Ravens defense. Deciding to extend the man should be as easy as taking candy from a baby.

I don’t care when you sign Mosley, just make sure you get it done. Don’t mess this up, Baltimore. C.J. Mosley is a franchise staple. Signing him long-term now will be easier than later.