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Re-signing C.J. Mosley may be a price too high for the Ravens

Baltimore Ravens v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Yesterday, the Houston Texans signed linebacker Benardrick McKinney to a five-year/$50 million deal, with $21 million guaranteed. Good for them, of course, but this could spell the end of C.J. Mosley with the Baltimore Ravens.

McKinney demonstrated his ability to play solid against the run, but he’s a valuable asset when pass-rushing. In the past two seasons he has racked up eight sacks as a middle linebacker.

This instantly changes the conversations between Mosley’s agent and the Ravens front office. Especially when you see their stats when comparing Mosley’s first three years in the league next to Benardrick’s.

Mosley Vs. McKinney

Player Games Played Passes Defensed Forced Fumbles Fumble Recoveries Interceptions Touchdowns Sacks Tackles
Player Games Played Passes Defensed Forced Fumbles Fumble Recoveries Interceptions Touchdowns Sacks Tackles
C.J. Mosley 46 23 3 3 6 1 7 232
Benardrick McKinney 43 3 2 0 0 0 9 176

Not hard to see Mosley out-produced McKinney in virtually every category; only in sacks does Benardrick lead.

Isn’t hard for an agent to point to a player with a bright and shiny new contract and show how their client is worth more millions of dollars. In this case, it could be many more millions.

Right now, the top-five highest paid inside linebackers:

  1. Luke Kuechly: 5-year/$61.8m [$34.3m Gtd.]
  2. Erik Kendricks: 5-year/$50m [$25m Gtd.]
  3. Benardrick McKinney: 5-year/$50m [$21m Gtd.]
  4. Anthony Hitchens: 5-year/$45m [$25m Gtd.]
  5. Mark Barron: 5-year/$45m [$20m Gtd.]

If the Ravens can’t pony up at least $50 million, which I highly doubt is the minimum Mosley and his agent would agree upon, another team will. The only shot at not paying Mosley $50 million is getting him a deal with similar guaranteed dollars like Kuechly received when signing his contract back in 2015. Many suspect this deal will reach nearly $12 million AAV, which falls just below Luke’s contract with $12.36 million AAV. The Ravens might be capable of signing him for around $55 million with fat guarantees to keep it around $11 million AAV, but he and his agent both know teams will always need a star middle linebacker in the NFL.

If it comes down to it, the Ravens will certainly find a way, but the enormous price-tag on C.J. could spell the end of ‘half-man, half-amazing’ in Baltimore. There comes a time when paying the player isn’t worth it, especially with a solid second- or third-round compensatory pick coming into play.

The Ravens have produced quality inside linebackers for two decades now, but are they capable of letting Mosley walk?