The New York Jets were truly desperate over the past few weeks, and that desperation has manifested itself in several ways. First, they traded for a former division rival and gave up a first and third round draft pick for a player who is basically done after a knee injury and a suspension. Then, they paid a 10.4 million bonus to a player who has been suspended and has not started a game in two years. The Jets were also reportedly considering making other moves, such as bringing in a player to replace injured linebacker Bart Scott.
The New York Jets have been an embarrassment to football fans and the NFL at large since joining the league in 1960. Since then, they have only won one playoff game, that being the infamous Miracle on Ice in the 1980 Super Bowl.
The New York Jets didn’t make a move to add a veteran quarterback to their roster this past weekend, but the team will add a significant amount of money to the payroll by trading for a former division rival. What’s the primary motivation for the Jets to make this move? The team will add $10,400,000 in cap space and, more importantly, $10,400,000 in dead money to the cap if they release veteran quarterback Josh McCown. The Jets will take on $10,400,000 in dead money by trading for the former Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III, who will get $2.5 million in guaranteed salary.
The NFL preseason’s objectives are straightforward. Teams want to look at the back end of the roster to determine who should make the squad, get some repetitions in for the starters before Week 1, and keep everyone healthy. In that last area, the New York Jets are not having a good preseason. The biggest name to go down is defensive end Carl Lawson, who was a major offseason free agency signing and is now out for the season due to a torn Achilles tendon.
The Jets are now scrambling as a result of this major injury. To help replace the defensive void left by Lawson, the club just acquired a familiar face who has previously played for both the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins in the AFC East.
On the defensive side of the ball, the New York Jets have many ailments. Carl Lawson is one of them.
The Jets placed DE Carl Lawson (Achilles) on injured reserve and released CB/KR Corey Balllentine, who had a strong summer as a returner.
They added DE Aaron Adeoye (one game with the Ravens) and G Isaiah Williams to their roster (a lot of camps in six NFL seasons).
August 23, 2021 — Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY)
The New York Jets, in need of pass-rushing assistance in 2021, went out and signed one of the finest available defensive ends on the market.
Lawson, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 265 pounds, was chosen by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2017. He had 8.5 sacks in his first season and currently has 20.0 for his career. In his first four seasons in the NFL, the versatile DE has 81 tackles, two forced fumbles, and 83 quarterback hits.
This performance earned the 26-year-old a three-year, $45 million deal with a guaranteed $30 million. While Lawson’s skill is undeniable, this isn’t his first serious injury. He tore his left ACL in college and the other ACL in 2018 with the Bengals, according to ESPN.
To add to the Jets’ injury woes, safety Zane Lewis tore his patella tendon and sprained his MCL during training camp, ruling him out for the season. Furthermore, according to ESPN’s Jets injury report, starting linebacker Jarrad Davis is expected to be sidelined until Week 6.
Defensively, DE Ronald Blair (questionable, hamstring), DE Vinny Curry (out for season with blood problem), CB Corey Ballentine (IR, knee), and CB Brandin Echols have all been injured in the past week or two (questionable, shoulder).
The Jets made a significant move to try stop the flow of injuries by trading for an old division rival.
Shaq Lawson, a former AFC East opponent, was acquired by the Jets in a trade.
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images photo of Shaq Lawson
Shaq Lawson (no connection to Carl) attended Clemson before being selected in the first round (No. 19) in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. Lawson has 16.5 sacks, 63 tackles, 38 quarterback hits, and five forced fumbles in four seasons with Orchard Park.
His fifth-year option was not picked up by the Bills. Jerry Hughes and Trent Murphy were already on the roster, while Mario Addison was added in the summer. The Dolphins saw Shaq’s potential and signed him to a three-year, $30 million free-agent contract when he was 25 years old.
Shaq had a decent season in Miami (4.0 sacks, 32 tackles, one forced fumble), but he didn’t quite live up to his $10 million deal. The Texans received the DE, the $10.4 million remaining on his deal, and a 2021 sixth-round selection in exchange for a 2021 seventh-round pick from the Philadelphia Eagles.
According to CBS Sports, the Texans traded Shaq to the Jets for a 2022 sixth-round selection after just one summer program in Texas. In terms of money, the transaction isn’t as difficult as it seems. The former Clemson Tiger will earn $1.4 million this season, and if he doesn’t produce, New York can release him and his $9 million contract for 2022 without incurring any dead cap penalties.
Robert Saleh, the first-year head coach, has his job cut out for him.
Shaq Lawson isn’t Carl Lawson, but he’ll improve the Jets’ pass rush and was a bargain.
This is a bargain for Jets GM Joe Douglas. TKnTrzmuow (https://twitter.com/TKnTrzmuow)
August 29, 2021 — Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY)
Robert Saleh, the former defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers, was hired as the Jets’ head coach primarily on his reputation as a defensive coach. He introduced his 4-3 system to New York, which had been using a 3-4 defensive for a long time.
Defensive end pass-rushers like Carl Lawson are critical in executing the new strategy. Carl and the defensive unit had looked well in the new configuration previous to the injury. Unlike other blitz-heavy 3-4 systems, the system relies on a powerful four-man pass rush.
The Jets’ inexperienced secondary may be exposed if the D-line is unable to pressure opposing quarterbacks. The top four cornerbacks on the squad have a total NFL experience of five years. Veteran safety Marcus Maye and Lamarcus Joyner, on the other hand, are on their side. When Joyner recovers from injury in the opening few weeks of the season, second-year safety Ashtyn Davis will most likely take his position.
Saleh and the Jets made a last-ditch attempt to keep their QB pressure aspirations alive in 2021 with the Shaq Lawson deal. The Jets defense has a potential to be strong and carry the inexperienced offense when it stumbles if Shaq can step in and offer a fair approximation of the performance the club anticipated from Carl.
It will be a difficult season for the whole New York Jets organization if Shaq isn’t the solution right away, and they may even be in the hunt for a high selection in the 2022 NFL Draft again.
Pro Football Reference provided all data, while Spotrac provided contract statistics.
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This article broadly covered the following related topics:
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