It’s no secret that the New York Giants could use some help in the pass-rushing department, namely on the edge. While Leonard Williams and Markus Golden have cracked the double-digit sack number in back-to-back years, respectively, the latter is the lone Giants edge rusher to notch 10-plus sacks in a season since 2014. He also currently resides in Phoenix after being shipped off in a trade to the Cardinals last season. As for Williams, his uber-productive 2020 campaign may ultimately price himself out of New York’s future plans this offseason.
Whether Williams walks or not, the team will likely be looking to add to their front-seven come March. Could a player such as Cincinnati Bengals’ impending free-agent Carl Lawson be the answer to aid in Big Blue’s pass-rush limitations? His fellow Auburn alumn Darius Slayton clearly believes so.
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Darius Slayton Hints at Carl Lawson Signing With the Giants
NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger took to Twitter on Saturday to highlight the somewhat under-the-radar free agent, noting Lawson’s “great all-around game” including his “ability to consistently crush the pocket.” Baldy attached a clip of the former fourth-rounder tossing aside nine-time Pro Bowler Jason Peters for reference, adding that Lawson “looks like a great addition to a team who wants to contend.”
Lawson caught wind of the analyst’s praise and believes the film shall speak for itself this spring.
“The film has been watched,” Lawson tweeted in response. “The rumbling shall begin.”
Ain no rumblings you’re bringing your talents to the meadowlands https://t.co/4nmJ0wPmNf
— Darius Slayton (@Young_Slay2) February 20, 2021
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One of the League’s Most Efficient, Unheralded Pass Rushers
Despite being used in a rotation over his four years in Cincinnati, Lawson has amassed 20.0 sacks and recorded an overall Pro Football Focus grade of 76.3 or greater in two of his last three years.
With the Bengals opting to trade Carlos Dunlap to Seattle this past year, Lawson’s usage ramped up, logging a career-high 11 starts. The former First-Team All-SEC selection proved more than capable of shouldering a heavier, more frequent workload. His 723 defensive snaps in 2020 were 246 snaps greater than his previous single-season high. With the added snaps came high-end production. Lawson’s 27 quarterback knockdowns led the entire NFL in 2020, while Steelers star T.J. Watt was the only player in football to outpace his 32 quarterback hits on the year.
By no means will Lawson come cheap on the open market. Just 25-years-old, Lawson has age and increasing production on his side to warrant a hefty payday. Teams will likely view the Bengals’ standout as a long-term defensive cornerstone whose sack production will only continue to rise with more playing time. The arrow is clearly pointing up on Lawson, who PFF predicts will ink a four-year $55 million deal this offseason with $30 million guaranteed.
Ever since handing out big money to Olivier Vernon back in 2016, the Giants have been reluctant to invest cash into the edge of their defense. The team has constantly filled the role with second-tier free-agent acquisitions and role players who have continuously failed to produce at a viable level (anyone remember Kareem Martin?).
Whether it’s serving as New York’s primary pass rusher or serving as the Robin to Leonard Williams’ Batman, Lawson has the looks of a homerun addition for the Giants defense.
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