Whenever a season comes to a close, you start seeing articles pop up about potential cap casualties.
Players who may be moved on to save money against the cap. Usually, the player's contract would be light on guaranteed money and heavy on cap savings.
As soon as the curtain came down on the Jet's 2022 season in disappointing fashion, we heard two names mentioned as cap casualties. Corey Davis and Carl Lawson, both are still on the roster.
Head coach Robert Saleh squashed any notion of Carl Lawson being cut all the way back in February when he said “Pass rushers, they don’t grow on trees, Carl has a commodity, in this league, that’s gold. So, he will be here as long as he can walk and play.” during the owners meeting in Arizona.
But still, the articles persisted. It’s usually a good base rule to not take anything that Coaches or General Managers say at face value, especially early in the off-season.
Then in May, we got another clear indication that the Jets were counting on Carl for the new season as the Jets restructured his contract. A move that generated $12.7 million of cap relief in 2023 for the Jets. It also saw Lawson drop his salary from $15 million in 2023 to $9 million, but with that $9 million came $8 million of guarantees.
Lawson was never worried about his cap situation, saying:
“I didn’t really understand the hysteria,” Lawson told team reporter Eric Allen on this week’s edition of “The Official Jets Podcast.” “I guess it’s just things for people to talk about. I want to be here. If they didn’t want me here, no gripe, they gave me the opportunity of a lifetime to provide for my family and play. It’s all I’ve ever wanted — to be a starter in a big market. I got another opportunity to prove myself. I have an opportunity, that’s it.”
Now in his second year following an Achilles tear, expectations are high for Lawson in 2023.
Lawson finished the 2022 season with 7 sacks and 49 pressures and will be joined by first-round speed rusher Will McDonald this year.
The Jets have an embarrassment of riches at defensive end in 2023, which is part of the season that Lawson’s roster position was questioned consistently earlier this off-season. But the Jets have a lot of faith in the former Bengal.
It’s easy to understand why they believe he’ll be even better this year.