According to multiple outlets Jets star linebacker CJ Mosley has opted out of his contract, making him the biggest name opt out so far this year. I had a number of questions about what this means for the Jets cap so here is the breakdown as far as I understand the rules. Please note that these rules are not finalized so there could be differences when all is said and done.
Mosley was set to count for $17.5 million on the salary cap in 2020. That number consisted of a $6 million base salary, $10 million offseason roster bonus, and $1.5 million in bonus prorations. His new cap charge for this year should be $10 million, which is the cost of his roster bonus. He would be eligible for either a $350K stipend if he is a high risk opt out or a $150K salary advance if he is a voluntary opt out.
Mosley’s contract with the Jets will toll meaning the term will now run until 2024 rather than 2023. His cap charge, which was scheduled to be $17.5M next year, will either be $7.5 million or $7.35 million depending on the type of opt out classification. His salary will be fully guaranteed. His cap number in 2022 will now be $17.5 million of which $8 million is guaranteed. His cap in 2023 and 2024 will be $18.5 million.
One could argue that this will improve the Jets salary cap in the short term though it will be a tough pill to swallow to have their prized free agent acquisition from 2019 basically not play for the Jets until 2021. The Jets originally would have been able to escape from the contract in 2022 if things went badly will now likely be married to Mosley until 2023 unless they looked to trade him which given his cost next year should not be thrown out as a possibility.
I spoke about this last night on the podcast and wrote about it a bit today but I would expect many more players like Mosley to strongly consider opting out to protect their guaranteed salaries this year from being lost to cancelled games. The fear for the NFL would be if the QBs begin to opt out and there are more than a few where it probably makes some financial sense for those players to do just that. At this point some teams may need to consider converting salary to bonus money as a way to entice some player participation. I’d be surprised if Mosley winds up the biggest name to opt out by next weekend but I guess we will wait and see what happens.
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Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.