5 NY Jets players NOT named Aaron Rodgers most critical to success in 2023

NY Jets, Breece Hall
NY Jets, Breece Hall / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
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After watching the 2022 NY Jets, it was obvious to everyone that the team needed a quarterback to push them over the edge. Well, the Jets went and got their guy in four-time MVP and Super Bowl-winning Aaron Rodgers.

Outside of Rodgers though, there are important players that are crucial to the team’s success. Below are five players that the Jets absolutely need to perform to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in February. 

5. Carl Lawson, DE, NY Jets

Carl Lawson just reworked his contract to free up a ton of cap space for the 2023 Jets. His contract became almost fully guaranteed, but he took a big-time salary cut to facilitate the new deal.

One of the reasons the Jets were able to do that, though, was because of how disappointing he has been since coming to the team before the 2021 season. 

Drafted by the Bengals in 2017, Lawson racked up 20 sacks in four seasons with the team before signing a lucrative free agent deal with the Jets to be their premier edge rusher, signing a three-year, $45 million deal. 

Since arriving with the Jets, though, Lawson has not lived up to the deal, dealing with a major injury in his first year with the team. After a tremendous camp where he was dominating anyone and everyone on the offensive line, Lawson tore his Achilles, costing him the entire 2021 season. 

He returned in 2022 but lacked the burst that earned him the big-time deal, tallying just seven sacks and 33 tackles across the 15 games he played. 

His most dominant stretch came during the Jets' five-game winning streak early in the year, notching three sacks, 10 tackles, and a forced fumble in those games. Across the final seven games of the season, when the Jets were just 1-6, Lawson only posted two sacks.

Getting Lawson into the double-digit sack count this year is a must for the Jets to succeed. Although they have great depth with Bryce Huff, Will McDonald, Jermaine Johnson, John Franklin-Myers, Michael Clemons, and Quinnen Williams, who can all get to the quarterback, they need the alpha of the group to take over late in games.

If Lawson can get to 10-12 sacks this season, that should equate to more wins for Gang Green.