New York Jets: Shaq Lawson trade might stop bleeding on defense

Shaq Lawson, New York Jets (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Shaq Lawson, New York Jets (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The New York Jets defense was in a bad way after the Carl Lawson injury but the Shaq Lawson trade might help alleviate some of their woes.

Carl Lawson suffering a torn Achilles was a massive blow for the New York Jets. The team signed the veteran edge rusher in free agency to give a position group that has struggled with effectiveness for years a massive boost. And by all accounts, he was prepared to do exactly that prior to his season-ending injury. Vinny Curry also being ruled out only made things worse.

With those two gone, however, the Jets looked quite hapless in that department. Against the Packers in the preseason finale, they rarely were able to get after the quarterback. So general manager Joe Douglas made a move to try and fix that, trading for Shaq Lawson.

On Sunday, the Jets sent a 2022 second-round pick to the Texans in exchange for the 27-year-old veteran, who was traded from the Dolphins to Houston earlier this offseason. While he may not be the same impact player Carl Lawson would’ve been, he can help make New York competent in getting after the passer.

Shaq Lawson isn’t a superstar but can tremendously help the New York Jets.

A first-round pick by Buffalo out of Clemson in 2016, Lawson never fully lived up to that billing with the Bills. Having said that, he’s proven to be a valuable and versatile threat off the edge over the last two seasons, including notching a career-high 6.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss in the 2019 season.

Lawson isn’t elite in any capacity but he is above-average across the board in what he’s asked to do. And when you look at the Jets edge rushers around him, that’s something that should be incredibly important to New York.

While the Jets can have hope in the development of players like John Franklin-Myers, Hamilcar Rashed Jr. or Bryce Huff, none of those guys are proven commodities and would undoubtedly be learning on the fly in bigger roles. That’s something that won’t be the case with Lawson. He’ll be a solid pass-rusher who’s also capable against the run.

It’s no secret that the New York Jets secondary in 2021 has the potential to be one of the worst units in the NFL. That makes having any semblance of a pass rush that much more important for Robert Saleh’s defense to be remotely competent.

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Shaq Lawson isn’t going to have the same impact that Carl Lawson would have. That being said, he can join the Jets and help them find a baseline level of success. This isn’t a team primed to make it to the playoffs just yet but, for quarterback Zach Wilson and some key young pieces to develop, they can’t be a disaster. Trading for Lawson tries to ensure that won’t be the case.