Unfortunately, after shining in training camp, Lawson tore his Achilles in August and subsequently missed his entire first season with the Jets. It was a devastating blow to a Jets defense that would go on to struggle mightily in 2021.
The Jets are hoping that Lawson could return healthy and better than ever in 2022, and the most recent update regarding his lengthy rehab period is a positive one.
Lawson spoke to the media last week and indicated that while he won't participate in OTAs later this month, he does expect to be ready for training camp in late July.
"I think I'll be good to go, but it's up to the organization and how they want to play it, what they want me doing and stuff like that. I'll be ready to go when my number is called. Even when I was on one leg, I was ready to go."- Carl Lawson
NY Jets defensive end Carl Lawson is hoping for a bounce-back 2022 season
Lawson has been sprinting with the team, per head coach Robert Saleh, but he's still in the latter stages of his rehab period. A torn Achilles is notoriously one of the most difficult injuries for any athlete to recover from, let alone someone who relies on their burst and explosiveness.
Nonetheless, Lawson is optimistic that he will return to full strength in 2022.
"I've had major injuries before and I came back better. This is different, but I don't plan on not being better than I was. ... But if I don't, who knows? But I plan on being better than I was."- Carl Lawson
The Jets made sure to add plenty of defensive end depth this offseason, perhaps partially because they don't want to bank on Lawson's health.
The team added Jermaine Johnson and Micheal Clemons in the 2022 NFL Draft, signed Jacob Martin and Solomon Thomas, and re-signed veteran Vinny Curry who also missed all of last season.
That's not even mentioning the likes of John Franklin-Myers and Bryce Huff who should each see plenty of playing time in 2022. The Jets are legitimately seven-deep at defensive end, but that doesn't mean a healthy Lawson wouldn't change the entire complexion of their defense.
The Jets may not be banking on a healthy Carl Lawson this season, but they're certainly hoping that's the case. The latest update regarding his injury does offer optimism.