OLB Carl Lawson Visits Dolphins

Once considered a big-ticket free agent addition who earned a three-year, $45MM contract to play for the Jets, edge rusher Carl Lawson spent much of his 2023 season being offered up as trade bait. Not finding any takers for the 28-year-old, the team instead allowed him to hit free agency at the end of the year. Now in search of a new home, Lawson reportedly visited the division-rival Dolphins today, according to Howard Balzer of CardsWire.

Despite delivering seven sacks for New York in his bounce back season following a torn Achilles tendon, Lawson saw himself in the doghouse in 2023, often serving as a healthy scratch with five other edge rushers earning snaps over him. Head coach Robert Saleh was adamant in his support for Lawson a year ago, claiming that “as long as (Lawson) can walk and play,” he’d be Jet, though Saleh made sure to clarify that he did not speak for general manager Joe Douglas.

Douglas clearly had other plans, though. After Lawson missed training camp and the first week of the regular season, rumors began that New York was open to trade offers on Lawson and other players like Mecole Hardman and Dalvin Cook. Despite coming back from injury, Lawson was hardly being used in the defense after the Jets made the call to utilize former first-round pick Jermaine Johnson more across from John Franklin-Myers.

At one point, Lawson expressed his displeasure with his role, saying, “I definitely want to play and contribute. I know I can; I’ve proven that…but right now I’m with the Jets, but I definitely want to play more. I definitely want to do what I did last year… I’m a football player, not a cheerleader.”

After not getting traded, Lawson is now a free agent. While injuries have certainly played a role in his NFL career, Lawson isn’t wrong; he has proven that he can contribute. In four of his six NFL seasons, Lawson has delivered five or more sacks, and while he has failed to match the 8.5-sack performance of his rookie season, he had seven in 2022 after a major injury.

In Miami, Lawson would add depth to a room that already holds players with their own extensive injury histories. Bradley Chubb has missed the majority of two seasons in the past, and Jaelan Phillips is working to return from a torn Achilles tendon of his own. Behind them, Shaquil Barrett missed nine games in 2022, and Melvin Ingram is seeing less and less of the field as he progresses into his mid-30s. With all that history on their current roster, it makes sense that the Dolphins are kicking the tires on a younger pass rusher, albeit one with their own injury history.

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