Dolphins Pushed to Sign Former $45 Million Rival as Early Season Insurance

Dolphins pushed to sign Carl Lawson as Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips insurance.

Getty Former New York Jets pass rusher Carl Lawson (#58) was suggested as a free agent option for the Miami Dolphins.

The Miami Dolphins are about to receive an influx of cap space on June 1 — the date veteran cornerback and early offseason cut Xavien Howard comes off the books.

Once Howard’s contract clears, Miami will have an extra $18.5 million to spend, should they choose. And Bleacher Report analyst Matt Holder believes the team must use a portion of it to add another edge rusher as early season insurance for Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips.

“While the Dolphins did use a first-round pick on Chop Robinson, the Penn State product is widely considered a project that needs some time to develop,” Holder pointed out. “Meanwhile, projected starters Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips are working their way back from the significant leg injuries suffered toward the end of the 2023 campaign.”

He went on to recommend that the front office bring in a free agent like Carl Lawson or Yannick Ngakoue — “a veteran edge-rusher with a proven track record of success in case Chubb or Philips aren’t ready to go for Week 1.”

And both suggestions offer intriguing buy-low potential for Miami.

Suggested Dolphins Target Carl Lawson Offers Revenge Factor, Bounce Back Potential

Dolphins fans likely remember Lawson for his time with the division rival New York Jets, although he began his career with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Based mostly on win-rate and potential, the Jets awarded Lawson with a $45 million contract in 2021. The deal didn’t work out, however, as the pass rusher tore his Achilles during his first training camp with the organization.

Later, Lawson was able to post seven sacks and nine tackles for a loss in year two with NYJ — which were impressive numbers coming off the Achilles injury — but he was eventually replaced by first-round selection Jermaine Johnson II in year three despite the bounce back campaign.

Lawson has often failed to live up to expectations throughout his career. He’s a physical specimen that has the look of a 20-sack defensive end, but injuries and a failure to finish plays have plagued him since entering the league.

After a season of limited usage, Lawson is 100% healthy heading into 2024. Couple that with the revenge factor when playing the Jets, and 28-year-old could make for a quality rotational addition in Miami.

Yannick Ngakoue Might Be Better 2024 Fit for Dolphins Than Carl Lawson

Ngakoue has produced much more than Lawson throughout his career. He has four seasons with 9.5 sacks or more since 2016 and three campaigns with 10 or more tackles for a loss.

He’s also been much more durable than Lawson over the years, appearing in a total of 123 regular season outings and six playoffs games.

And yet, ironically, Ngakoue has not been offered a contract like Lawson’s deal with the Jets. He’s a journeyman that has bounced around the league for quite some time, never truly finding a home since being drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in round three.

Profiling as a sort of pass-rushing mercenary of the NFL, Ngakoue could be the perfect high-floor fit for Miami in 2024. Lawson probably has more potential if it all comes together, but the Dolphins don’t necessarily need more “ifs” with Chubb, Phillips and Robinson already on the roster.

Instead, it’s certainly possible that Ngakoue is the better team fit of the two.

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