New York Jets: 4 Possible Carl Lawson replacements for 2021

New York Jets. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
New York Jets. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /

Carl Lawson will miss the 2021 NFL season after tearing his Achilles in a joint practice with the Green Bay Packers. Now the New York Jets scramble for plan B.

From hopeful, to hopeless. The New York Jets made a big splash in free agency this offseason, signing defensive Carl Lawson to a three-year, $45 million dollar contract. And early returns said he was living up to the hype.

Unfortunately, while having an incredible start to training camp, Lawson went down with a leg injury on Thursday in a joint practice with the Packers. After being carted on the field, the worst was confirmed as Lawson suffered a torn Achilles, ending his 2021 NFL season.

This is undoubtedly a big loss for the New York Jets and their defense. Yet, the team must regroup and try to move on. Now with Lawson gone for the season, who will replace him this year? Let’s break down some possible options.

Possible Carl Lawson replacements for the 2021 New York Jets

4. Bryce Huff

Bryce Huff, 24, signed with the Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2020. He played 14 games with the team in situational roles but did well. In only 47 snaps, Huff accumulated two sacks and four quarterback hits.

Huff is a young player with plenty of potentials, and it seems like the Jets are looking to get him involved as much as possible. In the first preseason game against the Giants, Huff played 50 percent of all the defensive snaps in that game and delivered with a multi-sack game.

3. Sheldon Rankins

Sheldon Rankins also got injured the same day as Carl Lawson but, thankfully for the Jets, his injury is only day-to-day. Unfortunately, that’s been a theme for Rankins lately. After having an excellent 2018 with eight sacks, Rankins missed 10 games in the following two years. He never played as well as he did in that 2018 season.

Regardless, the 29-year-old could see his playing time drastically increase. His explosiveness and strength will be an asset on passing downs. If the Jets don’t decide to look for help in free agency, Rankins is another candidate to step into Lawson’s place this season.

2. Everson Griffen

If the Jets were to look for help from free agency, Everson Griffen is a likely candidate. Griffen has been an excellent pass-rushing defensive end for his 11-year career. He hasn’t had a season with less than seven sacks since 2013.

Even with age, Griffen still has the ability to play an every-down role with success. He won’t generate the same amount of production as Lawson would, but you can pencil in at least five sacks for the veteran if he were to step in. And given that he is still a free agent heading in the back-end of August, that price could be quite cheap.

1. Ezekiel Ansah

Ezekiel Ansah wouldn’t be my first, second, or third choice — but he could potentially be a fit with the Jets.

To put it nicely, Ansah has essentially become a shell of himself since 2018. Inconsistency has always been an issue with Ansah and that lacking effort has pigeonholed him into free agency heading into his age-32 season.

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While I think signing Ansah is unlikely, a potential signing could happen. Last season, he spent time with another injury-plagued defense in the San Francisco 49ers, incidentally with then-defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. If the New York Jets are desperate for help, maybe Ezekiel Ansah gets a call.