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The acquisition of Carl Lawson by the New York Jets was celebrated as a step in the right direction for rookie head coach Robert Saleh. However, during Thursday’s practice, the Jets’ optimism for the defense flipped when Lawson went down with a lower left injury — later confirmed as a ruptured Achilles tendon. He will now be forced to miss the entire 2021-2022 season.
Lawson has previously battled season-ending injuries, tearing his ACL in both 2014 and 2018. Despite missing 13 games in his first four seasons with the Bengals, the pass rusher was signed by Jets GM Joe Douglas to a three-year, $45 million deal based on his ability to bully quarterbacks out of the pocket.
Five months into his deal, Lawson has maintained his presence as a leader and new breath of defensive prowess who has guided young players on the Jets’ defense, including former top-3 draft pick Quinnen Williams. The Jets also signed Lawson as a way to adapt to rising offenses in the AFC East.
With the Bills, Dolphins and Patriots all undertaking promising rebuilds, the Jets were keen on changing their approach through an active free agency period to help them rebuild as well from the disastrous 2-14 campaign in 2020.
Lawson has racked up a total of 20 sacks in his four seasons in the league, 5.5 recorded last season with Cincinnati.
Now missing their best acquisition on defense, the Jets will have to rework their personnel on the D-Line to get after pesky mobile quarterbacks like Josh Allen and a determined Tua Tagovailoa.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela