‘Sense Is Jets Not Done’ After New $12.7 Million Move: Insider

Robert Saleh

Getty New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh at team facilities in 2023.

The New York Jets made headlines early in the day on May 18 after a new report from ESPN NFL insider Field Yates.

He tweeted: “Jets DE Carl Lawson has agreed to a reworked deal, per source. Lawson was due a non-guaranteed $15M, but is now due a base value of $9M, $8M of that is guaranteed. He has $3M more available in incentives. The move creates $12.7M in 2023 cap space for the Jets.”

That last sentence is the part that really excited Jets fans — “the move creates $12.7 [million] in 2023 cap space.” This led to a whole bunch of theories from fans and media members on how that money will be spent (more on that below), but it also yielded an enticing follow-up tweet from ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler.

Lawson helps team while securing guaranteed money,” Fowler commented, reporting: “Sense is Jets not done with potential restructures/paycuts. Lawson was one of three Jets veterans with base salary of $10M+. C.J. Mosley ($17M) and Corey Davis ($10.5M) the others.”

In other words, the Jets could still free up more space in 2023 by reworking the contracts of Mosley and Davis in a similar way to Lawson — if they choose.

Jets Media Members React to Carl Lawson Restructure

The initial reactions from the NYJ beat were pretty standard. “Carl Lawson just freed a ton of money for the Jets,” SNY’s Connor Hughes voiced. The Athletic’s Zack Rosenblatt also noted that this gives the franchise “breathing room in 2023.”

uSTADIUM chimed in too, praising Lawson and the Jets for a “smart [move] all the way around.” They explained: “It guarantees Lawson his roster spot and the incentives must be very attainable.”

From there, things got interesting as fans speculated on a potential Quinnen Williams extension, Kwon Alexander linebacker signing, or a reworked contract for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

“Have to assume the Aaron Rodgers restructure will be announced soon,” uSTADIUM inferred. “This gives the Jets flexibility.”

ESPN’s Rich Cimini agreed, stating: “This provides additional cap room for Rodgers’ eventual restructuring. Right now he’s only $1.2M on the cap. That will increase. It doesn’t affect Quinnen Williams. Cap space in 2023 is not the issue.”

According to the NYJ insiders, it appears that this Lawson restructure — as well as any future restructures like Davis or Mosley — are more likely to impact Rodgers’ new contract (or a signing like Alexander) than a Williams extension.

Carl Lawson Contract Restructure Added Void Years & Dead Cap Charges for Jets in 2024 & Beyond

Now, it’s not all good news for the Jets. Like a lot of other Joe Douglas restructures and signings in 2023, Lawson’s new deal adds void years to his current contract.

“The Jets used void years to get Lawson’s cap number so low this year ($3M), which means there will be a ‘dead’ charge when the contract voids. That’s the downside,” Cimini informed fans.

Spotrac updated Lawson’s contract with a cap hit just over $3.013 million in 2023, but his dead cap charges stretch to 2027 — long after the pass rusher hits free agency next March. Spotrac lists dead charges of $6.4 million in 2024 and $1.6 million each year from 2025 through 2027.

This — along with other recent win-now moves by Douglas — brings the franchise’s exorbitant 2024 cap total up to $234.836 million for the moment. Lawson also joins the group of dead cap charges that will not be on the roster in 2024, which already includes OT Duane Brown, WR Mecole Hardman and DT Quinton Jefferson (per Spotrac).

Finally, Rosenblatt summarized the restructure from Lawson’s perspective. “On Carl Lawson: He had 7 sacks and 24 QB hits coming off the Achilles injury, wasn’t 100% most of the year and didn’t miss a game,” he shared. “He’ll have an opportunity, at full health, to build on that and make more money next offseason.”

Carl Lawson Tweets at Jets Fans After Cap ‘W’

After the new deal was announced, Lawson tweeted the following with the caption: “#8.”

Rodgers has taken over the No. 8 with the Jets, so this was presumably a hint that Lawson was willing to rework his contract in order to play with the future Hall of Famer. Ironically, eight is also the amount of guaranteed millions that the pass rusher just made.

Either way, the famed Lawson smirk and J-E-T-S chant video got the fans going after the unselfish move. “W,” one fan commented.

“So glad you’re sticking around, bro,” another replied. “Time to win that chip!” And a third commended Lawson as a “team player.”

Finally, one fan tweeted: “@carllawson55 genius business decision. More guaranteed $ and he aids in Q’s extension ⏩ meaning Q + Al Woods tying up the interior 3 OL leaving him and the edge goons 1 on 1 feasting to hit their escalators and drive their individual values 🆙 Bravo Carl, glad you’re back.”

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