The New York Jets likely will need more salary cap space this offseason to pay for Aaron Rodgers and sign Quinnen Williams to a massive contract extension. But don’t expect them to create room by releasing or trading Carl Lawson.
It had been speculated that the Jets could move on from Lawson because they’d save $15 million against the cap by doing so. Their top edge rusher is entering the final season of a three-year, $45 million contract.
But not so fast.
“I’ll speak for [Jets general manager Joe Douglas on this one], pass rushers, they don’t grow on trees and Carl has a commodity in this league that’s gold,” Saleh explained at the NFL annual league meetings Monday.
“He will be here as long as he can walk and play and rush the passer and affect it the way he does. He will be here.”
Robert Saleh with a big crowd pic.twitter.com/Q4xhava8LO
— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) March 27, 2023
Lawson played all 17 games last season and had a solid 72.8 pass rushing grade, per Pro Football Focus. He was second on the Jets with seven sacks, behind Williams (13), and third with 49 QB pressures. Most impressive is how the 27-year-old returned after missing the 2021 season with a torn Achilles.
New York drafted edge rushers Jermaine Johnson and Micheal Clemons last season. Each played well as part of a rotation across the line. But it’s clear that Saleh prefers to run it back with Lawson lined up next to Williams in 2023.
The Jets coach shot down another rumor Monday. Saleh succinctly stated, “we love our running back room” when asked if the Jets had interest in free agent Ezekiel Elliott.
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