3. Carl Lawson, DE, NY Jets
The Jets haven't really had the opportunity to see what Carl Lawson is capable of yet. The former Cincinnati Bengals edge rusher was signed to a hefty three-year, $$45 million contract ahead of the 2021 season.
Lawson was tearing it up in training camp and looked every part of the big-money pass rusher the Jets hoped they were getting. That was until he tragically tore his Achilles in a joint practice with the Green Bay Packers.
Lawson was forced to miss the entire 2021 season. He returned in 2022 but suffered a setback just a few months before the season began. He didn't even begin running until a few weeks before training camp.
Despite this, Lawson played all 17 games last season, and while he clearly wasn't the same player he was prior to his injury, he still finished with seven sacks.
The Jets fully expect Lawson to return to form in 2023, now another year removed from his torn Achilles. Unfortunately, the stage has been set for his eventual departure.
Lawson is a free agent at the end of the year, and the Jets have drafted two pass rushers, Jermaine Johnson and Will McDonald, in the first round of each of the last two drafts. They're preparing to move on from Lawson.
It's not impossible for Lawson to salvage his Jets career. If he returns to his pre-injury form and plays like the team's best edge rusher, it'll be hard to move on, even with Johnson and McDonald on the roster.
Still, the Jets have clearly prepared for Lawson's departure. The writing is on the wall.