The New York Jets are hoping for some better injury luck in 2022 from their free agents than they got in 2021.
Last year Gang Green doled out over $82.5 million on the open market to bring in playmakers on both sides of the ball in Corey Davis and Carl Lawson. Unfortunately, they both combined to miss over 25 games last year which certainly took some of the wind out of the sails from that class.
Heading into next season one of these studs is ready to make his impact felt for the very first time.
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Rebuilt: Bigger, Faster, Stronger
By all accounts, Lawson was the best player on the football field from spring practices, through training camp, and during preseason games in 2021.
The Jets invested $45 million into the 6-foot-2, 265-pound defender hoping he would become the team’s best EDGE rusher since John Abraham.
It seemed like they certainly got their money’s worth early on as he tore through the Jets offensive line in practice.
Unfortunately during Jets-Green Bay Packers joint practices, Lawson went down in a heap and suffered a ruptured Achilles ending his season before it ever really began.
Gang Green was forced to scramble to try and make up the difference, but their efforts were futile. The Jets finished 26th in the league in total sacks with just 33 and only two players on the team individually had more than 3.5 sacks:
Now heading into 2022 Lawson is looking to pick up where he left off. Recently there was some speculation that Lawson “suffered a setback” during his rehab, but Rich Cimini of ESPN was told that he is still “on schedule” for training camp this summer.
Setting up for an Epic Return
While the Jets spent a ton of free agency money here in 2022, Lawson is almost like a bonus free agent because he never got the chance to play a regular-season snap in 2021.
Most players would want to return to the point they left off at prior to the injury, not Lawson though.
“I really don’t have any interest in getting back to my previous condition,” he said via ESPN. “My mindset is to be better than I was before. Anything I’ve put my mind to, I’ve gotten. So, until further notice, I don’t really see that changing.”
The Jets are going to need him to reach another level because that is the necessary ingredient that Robert Saleh needs for his defense to fire on all cylinders.
While he has never had a double-digit sack season in his career, if it was ever going to come for Lawson it would be in 2022 paired with Williams, JFM, Bryce Huff, Sheldon Rankins, Jacob Martin, and inevitably multiple selections from April’s draft.