The New York Jets are replacing one Lawson with another.
Jets general manager Joe Douglas had been scouring the trade market since Aug. 18, when Carl Lawson — their top free-agent signing on defense — was carted off the field in a joint practice with the Green Bay Packers. Lawson’s injury, coupled with last week’s announcement that Vinny Curry was out for the season due to a blood disorder that triggered severe complications, left the Jets perilously thin at defensive end in their 4-3 front. Bryce Huff, an unproven second-year player, replaced Lawson on the depth chart.
This was the second time Lawson has been traded this year. The Miami Dolphins had traded him to the Texans in March, a year after signing him to a three-year, $30 million contract. The Texans restructured his contract, adding voidable years in 2023 and 2024.
The Jets have to pay him only a $990,000 base salary in 2021, with another $8.9 million in 2022. None of it is guaranteed.
Lawson had a quiet preseason for the Texans. He played 79 defensive snaps (42% of the total) and recorded only five tackles, two quarterback pressures and no sacks.
After a stellar career at Clemson, Lawson entered the league as the 19th overall pick in 2016. He spent four disappointing seasons with the Bills, never recording more than 6.5 sacks in a season. He battled injuries and never played a full season; he started only 17 games.
The Dolphins gave him a $21 million guarantee in free agency, but they didn’t receive much in return: four sacks, 32 tackles and one fumble recovery while playing 55% of the defensive snaps.
In recent days, Jets coach Robert Saleh downplayed the possibility of trading for an edge rusher.
“It’s always easy to play the fictional game of, ‘Let’s go get somebody,’ but the reality is [it’s] few and far between in terms of what’s available,” Saleh said. “Now, obviously, Joe and his staff are working relentlessly, always trying to look at the roster and always communicating.”