Jets $45 Million Big Ticket Free Agent Named ‘Talented’ Trade Candidate

Carl Lawson, Jets

Getty New York Jets defensive lineman Carl Lawson walking on the field ahead of an NFL game.

A key New York Jets defensive piece could become a bargaining chip this offseason.

Zack Rosenblatt recently listed Gang Green defensive lineman Carl Lawson as a potential trade candidate this offseason in an article for The Athletic.

“This will be the most difficult decision the Jets make this offseason.”

The Path to a Carl Lawson-Jets Trade This Offseason

The 27-year-old who will be 28 by the start of the 2023 season is entering the last year of his $45 million free-agent contract.

He is set to make $15.3 million but if the Jets moved on from him by cutting or releasing him they’d save $15 million of that amount off the cap. The team would incur a $333,334 dead cap hit with the move.

Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic joined me on my podcast to explain this potential trade in a bit more detail:

“It probably wouldn’t wind up being for much. It is one of those where the teams know that you’re getting rid of him anyway kind of thing. I think the New York Giants tried to do that with James Bradberry last year and they couldn’t find anyone willing to trade for him. The key would be the Jets not telegraphing that they want to get rid of him anyway if they can somehow pull that off.”

During our chat, Rosenblatt pointed to the Calais Campbell trade that happened back in 2020. The Jacksonville Jaguars shipped away the veteran defensive lineman to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for a fifth-round draft choice.

Rosenblatt said that it is more likely that he is “cut” than traded but said there is a lot to like about Lawson:

“He is a talented defensive end, a premium position, and he’s pretty young. I mean he’s not young, going to be 28 during the summer, but he’s not like past his prime or anything.”

The Pros and Cons of a Potential Carl Lawson Jets Trade

This would be a much easier decision if Lawson was a bad teammate or a terrible player.

However, he isn’t any of those things. The former Auburn product registered seven sacks during the 2022 season which is the most he has had in a year since 2017.

This is the first season he has played for the Jets in general but specifically since he blew out his Achilles during the 2021 offseason.

After the season Lawson spoke to team media and said the No. 1 thing he was looking forward to this offseason is getting back to football.

Last year he was 100 percent focused on rehab and didn’t get to do any real football activities until he rejoined the Jets during the summer. If he was able to have seven-sack production coming off of that, just imagine what he could do after a fully healthy offseason.

While that is certainly tempting, the Jets have an insanely deep defensive line.

There are multiple players who are on much cheaper deals that have been waiting in the wings like Jermaine Johnson.

It would make sense for the Jets to save the money and go to some younger players on the roster.

As Rosenblatt noted in his article the Jets “might not have a choice” with their current cap situation and the desire to add a new expensive quarterback this offseason but to cut Lawson in 2023.

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