NY Jets triple their cap space following Carl Lawson pay cut

NY Jets, Carl Lawson
NY Jets, Carl Lawson / Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Jets are still in the process of creating cap space ahead of a few significant roster moves, and on Thursday, they more than tripled their current cap space by reworking the contract of defensive end Carl Lawson.

The Jets lowered Lawson's 2023 cap hit from over $15 million to just over $3 million by adding four void years and forcing their standout defensive end to take a pay cut.

Lawson's base salary is reduced to $9 million, with $8 million of that in guaranteed money. He was also given an additional $3 million in incentives that are reportedly tied to sacks and playing time.

This move adds $12.7 million in cap space, putting the Jets' available cap space at right around $19 million. Lawson essentially took a $6 million pay cut in the process, although he can earn half of that back with incentives.

What does Carl Lawson's reworked deal mean for the NY Jets?

This move guarantees Lawson a roster spot and is similar to the pay cut Jamison Crowder took two years ago. Lawson's team essentially determined that the $9 million plus incentives are a better deal than what the 27-year-old would make on the open market.

He helps the Jets free up a ton of cap space, guarantees his own roster spot, and secures potential incentives to increase his pay. It's a good deal for both sides.

As for the Jets, this move increases their available cap space from just $6.3 million to $19.4 million, per Spotrac. According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, additional reworked deals could be coming for players like C.J. Mosley and Corey Davis.

The Jets still need a little cap space to sign their remaining draft picks, but the biggest reason the team needs to create more space is to make room for Aaron Rodgers' reworked contract.

Rodgers currently has a cap hit of just $1.215 million in 2023 and a ridiculous cap charge of $107,600,000 next season, but that deal was always just a placeholder to help facilitate the trade.

The Jets are also expected to sign star defensive tackle Quinnen Williams to a contract extension this offseason, and that situation is becoming more precarious by the day.

Clearing 2023 cap space doesn't directly help the Jets create room for Williams, but resolving the Rodgers situation would likely go a long way toward allowing the Jets to focus on their All-Pro defensive lineman.

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Lawson's reworked deal was an expected move, but this doesn't mean the Jets are done with their cap management. Expect some more moves in the near future.