Carl Lawson

Jets Activate Mekhi Becton, Carl Lawson, C.J. Uzomah From PUP List

JULY 26: Some good Jets news emerged Tuesday; Becton, Lawson and Uzomah are off the team’s active/PUP list in time for the start of veterans’ training camp workouts. While Lawson will be expected to anchor the team’s edge rush — a role his late-summer 2021 Achilles tear delayed — Becton has more to prove. The 2020 first-round pick has run into rampant health- and weight-related concerns. His coming off the PUP list so soon represents a nice development for the Jets, who are planning to slot him at either left or right tackle. Of course, Becton’s stock has dropped dramatically since his quality rookie season. That raises the stakes for his 2022 training camp.

JULY 21: The Jets placed five players on the physically unable to perform list today, including three offensive linemen. According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini (on Twitter), offensive tackle Mekhi Becton, offensive tackle George Fant, defensive end Carl Lawson, tight end C.J. Uzomah, and guard Dru Samia all landed on PUP.

Becton and Fant are set to compete for the starting left tackle role, with the “loser” settling in at right tackle. However, at least to start camp, the two starting offensive tackles will be sidelined as they recover from knee injuries. Becton was limited to only one game in 2021 before suffering his injury, and since health- and conditioning-related concerns have dogged the early part of his NFL career, an early absence won’t help his case in the LT competition. Fant, meanwhile, started 15 games for the Jets last season before suffering a knee injury that ultimately required offseason surgery. If either of the two offensive tackles are forced to miss time, the Jets could turn to the likes of Connor McDermott, Chuma Edoga, and fourth-round rookie Max Mitchell.

Lawson joined the Jets last year on a three-year, $45MM pact, but a torn Achilles during preseason forced him to miss the entire campaign. Considering the Jets could easily move on from the defensive end following the 2022 season, this could end up being a make-or-break year when it comes to Lawson’s future in New York. Uzomah joined the Jets on a three-year deal this offseason after setting career-highs across the board in 2021 with the Bengals (49 receptions, 493 yards, five touchdowns). He’s currently dealing with an undisclosed injury.

Samia spent most of the 2021 season on the Jets practice squad. He’s seen time in 15 career games, including 13 appearances for the Vikings in 2020.

Largest 2022 Cap Hits: Defense

After looking at this year’s top salary cap numbers on the offensive side of the ball, here is a rundown of the players counting the most toward their teams’ payrolls in 2022.

As could be expected, the salary figures here start below the quarterbacks. A few pass rushers, however, are tied to notable cap hits. Those numbers that check in within the top 20 leaguewide regardless of position. With the exception of true nose tackles and pure slot cornerbacks, every defensive position is represented here.

Here are the top cap figures on the defensive side for the ’22 season:

  1. T.J. Watt, OLB (Steelers): $31.12MM
  2. Chris Jones, DT (Chiefs): $29.42MM
  3. Joey Bosa, OLB (Chargers): $28.25MM
  4. Leonard Williams, DL (Giants): $27.3MM
  5. Aaron Donald, DT (Rams): $27MM
  6. Jalen Ramsey, CB (Rams): $23.2MM
  7. Deion Jones, LB (Falcons): $20.1MM
  8. Bud Dupree, OLB (Titans): $19.2MM
  9. Justin Simmons, S (Broncos): $18.85MM
  10. Javon Hargrave, DT (Eagles): $17.8MM
  11. C.J. Mosley, LB (Jets): $17.5MM
  12. Cameron Heyward, DL (Steelers): $17.42MM
  13. Robert Quinn, DE (Bears): $17.14MM
  14. Matt Judon, OLB (Patriots): $16.5MM
  15. DeForest Buckner, DT (Colts): $16MM
  16. Shaquill Griffin, CB (Jaguars): $16.44MM
  17. Tre’Davious White, CB (Bills): $16.4MM
  18. J.J. Watt, DL (Cardinals): $15.9MM
  19. Marcus Peters, CB (Ravens): $15.5MM
  20. Carl Lawson, DE (Jets): $15.33MM
  21. Eddie Jackson, S (Bears): $15.1MM
  22. Lavonte David, LB (Buccaneers): $14.79MM
  23. Budda Baker, S (Cardinals): $14.78MM
  24. Romeo Okwara, DE (Lions): $14.5MM
  25. Trey Hendrickson, DE (Bengals): $14.49MM
  • Illustrating how much the cap has climbed over the past several seasons, T.J. Watt is tied to a number nearly twice that of J.J. Watt, who has been tied to $16.7MM-per-year (a defender-record number in 2014) and $14MM-AAV deals as a pro. Trailing his older brother in Defensive Player of the Year honors, T.J. is signed to an edge defender-record $28MM-per-year accord.
  • Jones’ four-year Chiefs deal vaults from an $8.5MM cap number in 2021 to the league’s second-highest defensive figure this year. The standout defensive tackle’s cap hit accompanies Patrick Mahomes‘ $35.79MM number, which is well north of his 2021 figure, on Kansas City’s new-look payroll.
  • After two franchise tags, Williams scored a monster extension in 2021. The well-paid Giants D-lineman’s cap number this year is way up from his 2021 number ($9.4MM).
  • The Rams redid Donald’s contract last month, adding no new years to the through-2024 pact. The all-world defender’s cap hit actually decreases in 2023, dropping to $26MM
  • It is not certain Deion Jones will be back with the Falcons, who have jettisoned other Super Bowl LI cornerstones from the roster since the current regime took over in 2021. But they would save just $1MM were they to release the seventh-year linebacker.
  • To date, this represents the high-water mark for Mosley cap hits on his Jets deal, which at the time (2019) began a sea change for off-ball linebacker contracts. Mosley’s cap hit, on a pact that runs through 2024 because of the linebacker opting out of the 2020 season, increased by $10MM from 2021-22.
  • Hargrave is one of five Eagles pass rushers signed to veteran contracts. The ex-Steeler’s 2021 deal accompanies Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Haason Reddick, and Fletcher Cox‘s new agreement on Philadelphia’s defensive front. As cap hits do not reflect average salaries, Hargrave is the only member of this quartet tied to an eight-figure cap number in 2022.
  • Quinn has also been connected to a departure, with the 31-year-old pass rusher skipping minicamp after it became known he would like to be traded away from the rebuilding team. His cap hit tops the Bears’ payroll. The Bears would save $12.9MM by trading Quinn, should another team sign up for taking on his full 2022 base salary.

Latest On Jets’ Carl Lawson

The Jets were without one of their top free agent signings throughout the entire 2021 season, but it doesn’t appear that will be the case again this year. Carl Lawson has recovered from his torn Achilles and said today the he “expects to be back for training camp” (Twitter link via Connor Hughes of the Athletic). 

Lawson, who will be 27 by the start of the season, suffered the injury this past August. That ended what would have been his first year with New York before it even began. His arrival had led to optimism surrounding the team’s pass rush, given his production across four years in Cincinnati.

A fourth round pick of the Bengals in 2017, Lawson made an immediate impact in his rookie season. Despite starting only one of 16 games, he recorded 8.5 sacks. As his playing time increased year by year, he was never able to match that figure, but remained a consistent, disruptive presence on the team’s defensive front. With 20 total sacks to his name, and plenty of upside given his age, he signed a three-year, $45MM deal with the Jets last offseason. Due to the injury, though, the next regular season game he suits up for with New York will be his first.

“I’m going to be good to go, but it’s kind of up to the organization, how they want to play it, what they want me doing and stuff like that” Lawson said, via Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk“I’ll be ready to go at any time on a moment’s call.”

When he makes his Jets debut, Lawson will join an edge group also featuring the recently re-signed John Franklin-Myers and 2022 first-rounder Jermaine Johnson. Much will be expected of that trio, as they look to contribute on what the Jets hope will be a much-improved defense this season.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/23/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here. Teams have until 4pm ET/3pm CT Tuesday to reach the 80-man roster limit.

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts 

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Signed: OT Jonathan Hubbard
  • Released from IR via injury settlement: Sam Renner

Tennessee Titans

Jets’ Carl Lawson Suffers Achilles Tear

Carl Lawson will not play this season. After being carted off a practice field Thursday, the Jets’ recently acquired pass rusher went through an MRI that revealed an Achilles tear, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The former Bengals defensive end had stood out in Jets training camp and was expected to be their lead rusher. This represents a brutal blow for a team that has struggled for years to generate consistent edge pressure.

The Jets gave Lawson a three-year, $45MM deal in March, bringing the Auburn product to the Big Apple to lead Robert Saleh‘s pass rush. Only T.J. Watt produced more quarterback hits than Lawson’s 32 last season. While Lawson has just one six-sack season on his resume, he has been a solid pass rusher over the course of his career. The Jets guaranteed him a lofty $30MM. This will leave the team severely shorthanded on the edge.

This marks Lawson’s second major injury as a pro. His 2018 season ended after seven games due to an ACL tear. He did, however, tear his other ACL while at Auburn in 2014. Lawson, 26, successfully bounced back from the ACL issue, recording five sacks and 22 QB hits in 12 Bengals games in 2019. He built on that in 2020, leading to a career-changing payday after the Bengals opted not to use their franchise tag on him.

New York has a quality defensive tackle corps, led by Quinnen Williams, but is now quite vulnerable outside. Veteran Vinny Curry represents the most proven option beyond Lawson, but this will be his age-33 season. The Jets have lacked a surefire edge difference-maker since their 2006 John Abraham trade. After finishing second in the 2018 Khalil Mack sweepstakes and seeing Anthony Barr backtrack on a 2019 free agency agreement, the Jets landing Lawson proved significant. They will just have to wait to see how he impacts their latest rebuild effort.

Jets’ Carl Lawson Carted Off Practice Field

Jets defensive end Carl Lawson was carted off of the practice field on Thursday morning with a leg injury. There’s no official word on Lawson’s condition yet, but it’s believed to be an Achilles issue (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo). 

Lawson felt a pop when he suffered the injury (Twitter link), a sign that he could be dealing with a serious Achilles tear. That’d be a brutal blow to the Jets, who are counting on Lawson to spearhead their new 4-3 scheme.

Lawson, a former fourth-round pick of the Bengals, delivered serious pressure to opposing quarterbacks last season. He notched a modest 5.5 sacks, but his 32 QB hits were bested only by T.J. Watt.

The Jets gladly scooped him up with a three-year, $45MM deal with a chance to make up to $47.4MM. The deal included a whopping $30MM guaranteed to fill the Jets’ longstanding edge rusher void. Previous efforts to land the likes of Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr fell short — the hope is that Lawson can kick off a new era for the Jets’ front seven.

Lawson has managed to bounce back from serious injuries in the past. Despite suffering a torn ACL in 2018, he’s still managed to put together an impressive resume over the last four seasons. The Jets are hoping for the best this time around, but they might need another lineman to join Quinnen Williams and Folorunso Fatukasi up front.

NFL Contract Details: Jones, Floyd, Williams, QBs

Some assorted contract details from around the NFL:

  • RB Aaron Jones, Packers: Four years, $48MM, including $20MM over first two years. $7MM roster bonus in 2023. Owed $16MM in 2023 and $12MM in 2024. Via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero on Twitter.
  • LB Leonard Floyd, Rams: Four years, $64MM, including $32.5MM guaranteed. $14MM signing bonus. Salaries: $2MM (2021, fully guaranteed), $16.5MM (2022, fully guaranteed), $15.5MM (2023), $16MM (2024). Via Pelissero on Twitter.
  • DE Leonard Williams, Giants: Three years, $63MM, including $45MM. $22.5MM signing bonus. Salaries: $3.5MM (2021, fully guaranteed), $19MM (2022, fully guaranteed), $18MM (2023). Cap charges: $11MM (2021), $26.5MM (2022), $25.5MM (2023). Via Manish Mehta on Twitter.
  • QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Washington: One year, $10MM, including $6MM guaranteed. Max value of $12MM. $6MM signing bonus. $3MM base salary, $1MM per-game roster bonuses. Up to $2MM in incentives. Via Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post on Twitter.
  • QB Jacoby Brissett, Dolphins: One year, $5MM, including $2.5MM guaranteed. $2.5MM signing bonus, up to $2.5MM in incentives. Via Pelissero on Twitter.
  • QB Andy Dalton, Bears: One year, $10MM. $7MM signing bonus, $3MM base salary, up to $3MM in incentives. Via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle on Twitter.
  • LB Carl Lawson, Jets: Three years, $45MM, including $30MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus. Salaries: $6.2MM (2021, plus $7.8MM roster bonus), $15MM (2022), $15MM (2023). Cap charges: $14.3MM (2021), $15.3MM (2022), $15.3MM (2023). Up to $800K in sack incentives each year. Via Mehta on Twitter.

Jets, Carl Lawson Agree To Deal

The latest edge rusher domino fell Monday night, with the Jets securing a commitment from Carl Lawson. The former Bengals defensive end agreed to terms with the Jets, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Lawson landed a three-year, $45MM deal to join Robert Saleh in New York, Rapoport adds (via Twitter). The Jets are shifting to a 4-3 defense under Saleh, and they will sign a player with four years’ experience as a 4-3 end. Lawson can earn up to $47.4MM on this contract, per Rapoport.

A former fourth-round Bengals pick, Lawson has not produced high sack numbers. But he broke through in terms of pressure last season. Only T.J. Watt recorded more QB hits than Lawson, who registered 32. This came along with 5.5 sacks.

Edge rusher has resided as a Jets need for many years. They attempted to trade for Khalil Mack and tried to convert Anthony Barr into an edge two offseasons ago, among other efforts to fill the need. Last year, the team surprisingly passed on edges in free agency and the draft, only re-signing Jordan Jenkins. The Jets, who also traded Leonard Williams in 2019, struggled to pressure quarterbacks in a 2-14 season. Lawson will be expected to be New York’s lead rusher next season.

The Bengals have now parted ways with Lawson and Carlos Dunlap in recent months, though the latter is back on the market after the Seahawks released him. Rumored to be a franchise tag candidate, Lawson did not receive such treatment from the Bengals. Despite suffering a torn ACL in 2018, the former Auburn D-lineman cashed in. Given the 49ers’ D-line situation under Saleh, it is unlikely Lawson will be the only notable move for the Jets here.

Franchise Tag Roundup: Dupree, Seahawks, Bengals

Despite some whispers of a potential delay, the deadline for teams to place franchise tags on impending free agents was today at 5 p.m. CT. While a handful of players learned that they were slapped with the tag, a number of players naturally learned that they’ll be entering unrestricted free agency. We collected some of those notable players below:

  • The Steelers decided to not tag Bud Dupree, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). The linebacker was hit with the tag last offseason. The former first rounder had another strong season for Pittsburgh, compiling eight sacks in only 11 games.
  • A pair of popular Seahawks players didn’t get franchised: running back Chris Carson (per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero on Twitter) and cornerback Shaquill Griffin (per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport on Twitter). The team is planning to (at least) make a pursuit at retaining Griffin, per Rapoport.
  • The Bengals didn’t franchise pass rusher Carl Lawson, per Rapoport (on Twitter). The former fourth rounder has collected 10.5 sacks over the past two seasons, with Rapoport opining that the lineman is “one of the NFL’s most underrated players” heading into free agency.
  • The Lions decided to not franchise Romeo Okwara, according to Rapoport (via Twitter). The 25-year-old had a breakout season in Detroit, setting career-highs in tackles (44) and sacks (10).
  • Despite leading the Cardinals with 12.5 sacks last season, Arizona didn’t franchise linebacker Haason Reddick (according to Schefter on Twitter). The former first-rounder also set career-highs in QB hits (16) and tackles for loss (15).
  • The Titans didn’t franchise tight end Jonnu Smith, per Schefter on Twitter. The 25-year-old has shown flashes during his brief NFL career, including a 2020 campaign where he set career-highs in receptions (41), receiving yards (448), and touchdowns (eight).

As a reminder, here are the players who have reportedly been tagged over the past 48 hours:

AFC North Notes: Judon, Bengals, Steelers

After being franchise-tagged last year, Matt Judon appears closer to hitting the market for the first time. The free agent-to-be has said a return to the Ravens would require circumstances to align perfectly, providing a clear indication a hometown discount will not be in the cards. Judon, though, is not ruling out a Ravens return. If the veteran edge rusher is to leave Baltimore, however, he may not be willing to sign with one of the league’s rebuilding teams. Judon said he wants to land with a winning team, per veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson (on Twitter). The 29-year-old defender joins teammate Yannick Ngakoue, who did not see full-time action for the Ravens in the playoffs, and Shaquil Barrett and Bud Dupree as edge rushers eager to cash in after being tagged last year.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Carl Lawson is on the precipice of free agency for the first time, separating him from a few of this year’s UFA edge rushers. But the Bengals may not be willing to let him go. The Bengals are prepared to use their franchise tag on Lawson, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. While some believe the team would rather tag cornerback William Jackson, more buzz has emerged about the team keeping the four-year defensive end cog. Although Lawson only tallied 5.5 sacks last season, his 32 quarterback hits ranked second in the NFL.
  • With the cap-strapped Steelers unlikely to tag anyone this year, they would need to extend Dupree before March 17 to keep him off the market. GM Kevin Colbert did not indicate Dupree would be prioritized. “We have to adjust and know that he might be a possibility, he might not be,” Colbert said, via SI.com. “We’re never going to eliminate a great player like Bud Dupree, because we don’t know what Bud’s market is, and Bud doesn’t know what his market is at this point.” The legal tampering period begins March 15. It is possible the 2021 salary cap number will not emerge until shortly before that date, complicating matters for teams hoping to extend big-ticket free agents.
  • Despite Zach Banner suffering a torn ACL in Week 1, Mike Tomlin informed the offensive tackle he had a path to regain a starting job in 2021. “Coach T looked at me and said, ‘You are my answer for 2021, so I need you to focus on your knee, don’t worry about anything else,’” Banner said, via The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly (subscription required). “That was the best thing that I could’ve heard.” Banner, Pittsburgh’s Week 1 right tackle starter, re-signed with the Steelers on a one-year, $1.75MM deal. A similar contract may be in the cards for the four-year veteran. The Steelers may be leaning toward letting Villanueva, their six-year left tackle starter, walk in free agency. One season remains on right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor‘s rookie contract.