4. Carl Lawson, DE, NY Jets
The Jets could have released Carl Lawson this past offseason and saved $15 million with absolutely no dead cap penalty. Instead, the team restructured his deal, pushing over $6 million in dead cap to 2024 because they believed in the former Cincinnati Bengals standout.
Lawson dominated his first summer with the Jets before suffering a torn Achilles in training camp. He stayed healthy throughout 2022, but it was clear that he was still a step slower than his pre-injury self.
The Jets banked on Lawson returning to form with another year removed from his Achilles injury. Unfortunately, Lawson would suffer a back injury prior to the season, and he never fully recovered.
Lawson appeared in just six games and was a "healthy" scratch for much of the season. It's a travesty that the Jets never got to see a fully healthy Carl Lawson during his time with the team.
3. Dalvin Cook, RB, NY Jets
The Jets gave Dalvin Cook the most guaranteed money of any free-agent running back this past offseason with the idea that he would serve as a complement and expensive insurance policy to young running back Breece Hall this season.
Hall was still working his way back from a torn ACL, and the Jets hoped that Cook could provide much-needed running back depth despite all signs pointing to his obvious and inevitable decline. The Jets ignored the warning signs and paid for it.
Cook was abysmal in 2023. The former Pro Bowl running back averaged a dreadful 3.2 yards per carry and finished dead last in RYOE/attempt — one season after ranking last among all running backs in total RYOE (rushing yards over expected).
Anyone who watched Cook's 2022 film and paid attention to the analytics should have expected a season like this out of the former second-round pick. The Jets didn't, however, which means he fell well short of his team's unrealistic expectations.