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AP sources: Jets LB C.J. Mosley opting out of NFL season

New York Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley has opted out of playing this season because of family health concerns, two people familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

The 28-year-old Mosley was entering his second season with New York after signing as a free agent in 2019 following five years in Baltimore. He played in just two games last year for the Jets while dealing with a groin/core muscle injury.

The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Saturday because the team hadn't announced Mosley's decision. ESPN first reported that Mosley was opting out.

Mosley joins a growing list of players who are choosing to not play this season — if there is a season — amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

He is the second Jets player to opt out of the season. Offensive lineman Leo Koloamatangi also decided earlier this week to not play this year.

New England has had several players do so, including star linebacker Dont'a Hightower. Chiefs starting running back Damien Williams, a key to their Super Bowl run last season, said he wouldn’t play. Giants tackle Nate Solder is also among those opting out.

The decision by Mosley leaves the Jets without arguably their two best defensive players. New York traded safety Jamal Adams to Seattle last Saturday along with a 2022 fourth-round draft pick for safety Bradley McDougald, first-rounders in 2021 and 2022, and a third-rounder in 2021.

Mosley signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the Jets in March 2019, but his decision means the deal will now run through the 2024 season instead of 2023.

He was off to a great start in his regular-season debut with New York when he got hurt. He had five tackles and intercepted a pass from Buffalo's Josh Allen and returned it for a touchdown in the opener. But he injured his groin late in the third quarter of the game while breaking up a pass.

Mosley missed the next four games before coming back against New England. He acknowledged he still wasn't totally healthy in that game and missed the rest of the season before eventually having surgery in December.

Mosley said in June he had been “cleared for everything” and was looking forward to having no limitations during training camp. So, this was likely an extremely tough decision to make for Mosley.

Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will now have to plan his defense to be without Mosley, something he needed to do for much of last season. One positive is the Jets have several backups who saw lots of playing time a year ago in Mosley's absence.

Neville Hewitt, James Burgess, Blake Cashman, B.J. Bello and newcomer Patrick Onwuasor — who replaced Mosley in Baltimore last year — could all be in the mix to help make up for the loss of the four-time Pro Bowl selection.

The Jets also have veteran Avery Williamson returning from a torn ACL that sidelined him for all of last season. He was placed on the active/physically unable to perform list earlier this week but is expected to be ready to play when the regular season begins.

There had been some speculation that New York could cut Williamson, who's due to make $8.5 million against the salary cap this season. But Mosley's decision to opt out will likely mean Williamson will remain on the roster — and likely take over as the signal-calling quarterback on defense.

Giants extend contract of Nick Gates after Solder's opt out

Less than a week after left tackle Nate Solder opted out of the season, the New York Giants extended the contract of third-year tackle Nick Gates.

The Giants announced Saturday that Gates had signed a two-year extension worth at least $6 million.

The Giants also confirmed they had signed placekicker Chandler Catanzaro. He reached an agreement with the team earlier this week after Aldrick Rosas was released in the wake of a hit-and-run accident in the offseason.

Gates started games at right guard and right tackle last season, He started 25 consecutive games at left tackle at Nebraska.

The Giants are expected to move first-round draft pick Andrew Thomas to left tackle to take over for Solder, who started every game the past two seasons. Gates, who played in all 16 games last season, and veteran Cam Fleming are expected to compete for the job at right tackle.

“We have faith in Nick Gates. ... Last year he made a lot of progress. We are excited about him,” Giants general manager Dave Gettleman said before the draft.

Mike Remmers, who started most of last season at right tackle, signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in the offseason. Center Jon Halapio, who was hurt in the season finale last season, remains unsigned.

Gates joined the Giants as a rookie free agent in 2018 and spent that entire season on injured reserve after suffering a foot injury in the preseason.

A former Jet who has played six years in the NFL, Catanzaro did not play in the NFL last season. The 29-year-old has made 119 of 142 field goal attempts and 182 of 196 extra point tries. He has had touchbacks on 61 percent of his kickoffs.

Detroit QB Stafford goes on reserve/COVID-19 list

One of the NFL's standout quarterbacks is now on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Matthew Stafford was put on the list by the Detroit Lions, according to the league's transactions report Saturday. The reserve/COVID-19 list was created for players who either test positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with an infected person. The 32-year-old Stafford is easily one of the most high-profile players to land there.

The Lions, citing NFL-NFLPA policy, have not been commenting on the medical status of players on that list. Stafford is entering his 12th season with Detroit after being drafted by the Lions with the No. 1 overall pick in 2009.

Stafford's wife Kelly had surgery last year to remove a brain tumor.

Stafford played every game for the Lions from 2011-18, but back and hip injuries caught up with him and he missed half of last season. Detroit is coming off two straight bad seasons under coach Matt Patricia, who is under pressure to improve this year — if the NFL can even play amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Also Saturday, Seattle put guard Chance Warmack on the reserve/opt-out list, and Dallas put defensive back Saivion Smith on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Jacksonville defensive end Lerentee McCray went on the reserve/opt-out list too.

“With the health and safety of my family in mind, I have decided to opt out of the 2020 season during these trying times in ‘Our Nation,’” McCray said. “I was honored to be involved in our team’s social justice efforts during this offseason, and I look forward to continuing to support those affected in any way I can.”

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