New York Jets: Why the return of Carl Lawson could change everything for the defense

Ryan Moran
carl lawson, new york jets
Jul 27, 2021; Florham Park, NJ, United States; New York Jets defensive end Carl Lawson (58) talks with the media on training camp report day at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

For quite some time, the New York Jets have lacked a dominant edge pass rusher with speed. In March of 2021, after years without one, the need was finally addressed. The Jets signed Carl Lawson to a big three-year contract.

Lawson was only going to be 26 years old for the 2021 season. He was coming off a remarkable 64 pressures in 2020. All throughout training camp last summer, Lawson was reportedly the Jets’ best player every day. He was virtually unblockable on the edge and constantly causing disruption.

Then, he, unfortunately, got hurt in practices held with the Green Bay Packers in August as he ruptured his Achilles. The loss took a lot out of the fan base and the team at the time. Lawson seemed primed to be a top player for the Jets in 2021.

The pass rush went on to struggle overall and missed Lawson’s presence tremendously.

Big 2022 offseason

This offseason, the Jets went out and were active in free agency and made four draft picks in the top 36 selections. The offseason was highlighted with big names like Sauce Gardner, Garrett Wilson, Jermaine Johnson, Breece Hall, Laken Tomlinson, and C.J. Uzomah, among others. The Jets also had a promising start from their 2021 draft class headlined by Zach Wilson, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Elijah Moore, and both Michael Carter’s, who all seem poised to take a big jump.

As a result, it has led to the return of Lawson going a bit under the radar throughout the Jets roster. Considering he has not yet played a game for the Jets, he can almost be looked at as a new addition to the team. Adding Lawson with all of the new talent acquired in the offseason is just another exciting thought for this Jets team.

Lawson is a naturally gifted pass rusher. He uses his low build to the ground to his advantage on the outside. He perfectly fits the wide-9 attacking front coordinated by Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich. Lawson has speed, bend, and multiple pass rush moves. He has what it takes to be a very impactful player on the Jets’ defense.

Lawson just turned 27 years old. He will now have Jermaine Johnson on the opposite edge from him. Pair them with the interior duo of Quinnen Williams and John Franklin-Myers, and the Jets could have a respectable front four. By the end of the 2022 season for the Jets, Lawson could end up being one of the team’s best players.