On Wednesday, the New York Jets were dealt a significant blow as defensive end Carl Lawson suffered a ruptured Achilles. As reported by multiple outlets, he is now expected to miss the entire 2021 NFL season.
Lawson signed a three-year, $45 million deal with the Jets in March and was expected to play a big part in the team’s revamped defense this upcoming season.
Lawson’s injury is a massive blow to the Jets
The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Carl Lawson in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL draft and the Auburn alumnus proved to be a draft steal for the franchise.
Lawson enjoyed a terrific rookie season, registering 8.5 sacks and earning a spot on the PFWA’s All-Rookie team. He had a sophomore slump, playing only seven games and recording only one sack in the 2018 NFL season. But he bounced back in style and has been a steady contributor over the past two campaigns. Lawson has registered 11.5 sacks in the last couple of years.
Lawson has an unmatched ability to get to opposing quarterbacks. He had 22 quarterbacks hit in 2019 and led the league last year in that category with 32. The Jets, especially new head coach Robert Saleh, were big admirers of Lawson and made him a big offer to be the team’s defensive lynchpin this offseason.
Speaking about Lawson earlier in training camp, Saleh said:
“If you look at Carl and you just look at a piece of paper, he doesn’t check a single box in terms of height, length, size. But when you turn on the tape, all he does is win over and over and over again. In the NFL, you can never have too many guys who just win play after play. That’s why he fits. He fits any scheme. He’s a guy who lines up and dominates one-on-one, especially in money situations when you need somebody to affect the game.”
Lawson had a terrific training camp and looked all set to have a breakthrough year. But his unfortunate injury will not only throw a wrench in the Jets’ plans but could also potentially affect the defensive end’s career.
The Jets will now look to trade for a replacement or explore the free agency market for a short-term fix to their pass rush problem.
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