NY Jets head coach Robert Saleh spoke to reporters at the league meetings in Arizona on Monday, and he promised that defensive end Carl Lawson will be on the Jets' roster in 2023.
While Saleh was noncommittal when asked about other players, the third-year head coach said that he felt comfortable speaking for general manager Joe Douglas in this situation. Lawson isn't going anywhere.
"I'll speak for Joe (Douglas) on this one. Pass rushers don't grow on trees ... he will be here as long as he can walk and play."- Robert Saleh
This comes following rumors that the Jets could consider cutting Lawson in a cap-saving move this offseason. The former prized free-agent signing has a cap hit of $15.73 million in 2023 and could be released with just $333,333 in dead cap.
That's a significant chunk of savings for a team that could really use some additional cap space. But the Jets love Lawson and clearly have no plans to cut ties with him this offseason.
How the NY Jets can lower Carl Lawson's cap hit without cutting him
Just because Saleh has promised that Lawson will be on the Jets' roster in 2023 doesn't mean he will return at his current cap hit, however. There are ways the Jets can save money and keep him around.
The first and most obvious method would be to simply extend Lawson and give him a new contract. Extending Lawson could lower his 2023 cap hit significantly and allow the Jets to push some of that money into future years, as they've done quite a bit this offseason.
Of course, this carries some risk. Lawson has fallen short of expectations in New York, largely due to the torn Achilles he suffered in the summer of 2021. But if the Jets are confident in Lawson returning to his pre-injury form, an extension makes sense.
The Jets could also release Lawson with the goal of re-signing him at a lower price point. The risk here is that other teams would be able to sign him, but perhaps the two sides can reach an agreement beforehand.
Either way, the Jets don't plan to part ways with Lawson. They hope that, with another year removed from his torn Achilles, Lawson can become the player he was when the Jets signed him.
Remember, Lawson suffered a setback in his rehab last offseason and didn't even start running until a few weeks before training camp. The fact that he not only played in 2022 but played all 17 games is nothing short of miraculous.
The Jets still believe in Carl Lawson. He will be on the roster in 2023.