Reports out of New York on Thursday indicate that Jets EDGE Carl Lawson was carted off the field with a leg injury, per The New York Post’s Brian Costello. The apparent injury occurred during a joint practice with the Green Bay Packers. Lawson is set for an MRI on his Achilles, per Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo.
We won’t speculate on the severity of the injury, as the news is literally just over an hour old at the time of publication, but it’s never a good sign when a player requires the medical cart to be taken to the sidelines. Things get a bit scarier when you take Lawson’s injury history into account. He tore his left ACL at Auburn in 2014 and tore his right ACL with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018. To say this would be a massive loss for the Jets and their defense should Lawson have to miss any regular-season time would be underplaying it. It would be catastrophic.
Reports out of training camp regarding Lawson’s performance for his new team thus far have been overwhelmingly positive. The rave reviews Lawson has earned throughout the early portion of his time in New York should surprise nobody. Lawson burst onto the scene with 8.5 sacks as a rookie with the Bengals in 2017. He was limited to just seven games as a sophomore but got right back on track in 2019 with another solid showing. Lawson had the best year of his career last season, in my opinion (the film doesn’t lie). He set a career-high in tackles with 36 and recorded a respectable 5.5 sacks while serving as one of the league leaders in total quarterback pressures with 64, according to Pro Football Focus.
Lawson has been one of the most feared quarterback hunters in the NFL over the past few seasons. His toolbox as a pass rusher includes excellent quickness off the edge and an impressive ability to convert speed to power. Lawson parlayed an outstanding 2020 campaign into a shiny new three-year, $45 million contract with the Jets.
There’s a good reason the Jets identified Lawson as one of their biggest offseason targets. Lawson was signed to inject a bolt of energy into a new-look Jets defense that finished with just 31 sacks a year ago. The Jets did not generate enough pressure off the edge last season. Last year’s team sack leader, Quinnen Williams, is a 300-pound interior player. They hired a defensive-minded head coach in Robert Saleh, who will look to give his defense a facelift in 2021. Lawson is supposed to be a big part of that transformation.
The Jets are going to have a tough time rebounding from this should they receive bad news on Lawson’s medical status going forward.
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