Most of the focus during Jets’ OTAs has been on quarterback Aaron Rodgers and for good reason. But during Tuesday’s session that was open to the media, a key piece on the other side of the football.
Defensive end Carl Lawson is looking like he’ll be a force on defense this season, both figuratively and literally. By many accounts, Lawson looks bigger and stronger this offseason and told the media he “lost quite a bit of fat”.
Lawson was second on the team last season with seven sacks. Despite that, Lawson was seen as a potential cap casualty as the Jets could have cut him and not left behind any dead money. Instead, the Jets kept him and the two sides agreed to a pay cut, though Lawson is now guaranteed a huge chunk of his salary this season ($8 million of his $9 million).
Lawson is excited to give the Jets the “best version” of himself in 2023.
“My main goal here, and what I really came here and set out to do, was give the Jets the best version of Carl Lawson,” he said, via The Athletic. “They gave me the opportunity to provide for my family. My sister goes to college, my grandparents are in a retirement home, my mom and dad are well taken care of, I can buy as much anime stuff as I want. They gave me the opportunity to do that, so I just want to give them the best version of myself in the time that I’m here.”
He also set a goal for himself of ten sacks this season. “That’s the goal,” he said. “And it’s going to happen.” If it does, it would be the first time in his career he reached double-digit sacks. He came into the league in 2017 as a fourth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals. His career high is 8.5 in his rookie season.
Keep in mind too that Lawson reached seven sacks last season while playing at less than 100 percent as he was still working back from his 2021 Achilles injury. He’s fully healthy and ready to lead the charge up front for the Jets.