PHOENIX – The Jets' acquisition of C.J. Mosley was a clear example of this unyielding truth: If you're going to overpay in free agency, you better overpay for someone who's actually good.
Mosley, frankly, was one of only a handful of true impact players on the market. After all, how many times does a 26-year-old four-time Pro Bowler shake loose?
"When we started our process, I think we were shocked because originally you start thinking there's no way he's going to be out there," Adam Gase said at the annual league meetings this week. "There's no way he's going to be out there. Then when he hit the market, it was a full-court press for us. He was a culture-changer. He was the type of guy that could help lead that charge in the locker room where the team-building starts the right way."
Mosley will undoubtedly be an anchor in the middle of Gregg Williams' defense, but he didn't come without a hefty price. Mike Maccagnan & Co. doled out a five-year, $85 million deal to make Mosley the highest paid inside linebacker in NFL history. It's effectively a three-year pact with $51 million in guarantees. That's a lot of loot for a two-down linebacker.
The Jets believe it'll be money well spent.
"He's been a part of an organization that all of us would say they've done things the right way for a long period of time," Gase said of the Ravens. "They've had a lot of great players go through and that culture stayed the same. It started with Ray Lewis, and kept going after he left. C.J. was a big reason for that. We want to be able to start our own deal here where he was kind of that first piece where he can lead that defense, the quarterback of the defense."
Mosley will also be a positive influence on fellow Pro Bowler Jamal Adams, who has shown natural leadership traits in his first two years.
"(With) Jamal coming along, he has someone he can look to and say "Hey, that's how you do it,'" Gase said. "I think he's ready. He's kind of at that point where he wants to become a big-time leader in that locker room. When I look at that whole group, I think those guys are excited to kind of get going, playing for Gregg, getting that whole defense rolling."