3. Carl Lawson, DE, NY Jets
The other big-ticket free-agent signing the Jets made this offseason was former Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carl Lawson. Signed to a three-year, $45 million contract in March, the Jets are obviously expecting big things out of Lawson.
The former fourth-round pick broke out in 2020 putting together a career year despite modest box-score production. He only managed 5.5 sacks, but Lawson's impact extended well beyond that.
He was one of the best players on a very poor Bengals team finishing with a whopping 64 pressures which ranked fourth among all edge defenders in the NFL.
His 84.9 Pro Football Focus pass-rush grade was good for eighth at his position as he was one of the league's premier pass rushers despite a lack of sacks.
In 2021, however, that could be set to change.
Lawson will be paired with significantly more talent on the Jets defensive line with the likes of Quinnen Williams, John Franklin-Myers, and Sheldon Rankins — three accomplished pass rushers in their own right — rushing alongside him.
He'll also be playing under new head coach Robert Saleh who has made a name for himself by getting the most out of his defensive lines.
Saleh is the one who transformed Arik Armstead from draft bust into a double-digit sack monster. He helped develop DeForest Buckner into a perennial All-Pro.
Carl Lawson finds himself in a perfect situation in New York. 2021 could be the year that he finally receives the national recognition that he deserves.