American Football

Carl Lawson on double-digit sack season: “That’s gonna happen.”


New York Jets Offseason Workout
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Being asked to take a $6 million pay cut would likely shake some players to the core and cause a rift in relations, but not Carl Lawson, who not only wanted to return to the Jets in 2023 due to some unfinished business but wants to retire a Jet after playing until he’s 35.

Asked why he took a pay cut to remain with the Jets, and he put it down to divine intervention:

“Almost like God is talking to me,” Lawson said. “ ’Cause my career started chasing this quarterback. I got four sacks against him, and my career damn near ended in the pursuit of this quarterback. So, kind of a no-brainer from upstairs, you feel like, ‘Hey, you need to be here.’”

Lawson is referencing his rookie season where he sacked Rodgers 2.5 times during his rookie year where he registered 8.5 career sacks, which is still a career-high for the former Bengal. He also tore his Achilles in a joint practice with the Packers while Rodgers was still calling Green Bay home, so maybe it was just supposed to be.

Lawson may not have achieved everything he set out to when he signed his free-agent deal with the Jets which is set to expire at the end of the 2023 season, but two years removed from a devastating Achilles injury there is reason to believe that his best may be ahead of him.

Not that he needs extra motivation, but the Jets selecting his heir apparent 15th overall in the 2023 NFL Draft is just that:

“I can add that to the list,” Lawson said. “I’ve been in the NFL for so long, I’ve never been on a winning team, I haven’t made my Pro Bowl, I haven’t made a Super Bowl. I’ve had multiple, multiple injuries, and I’ve come back better each time. That motivation that you’re talking about is like a speck compared to some of the stuff that goes through my head every single day.”

In the attacking Saleh defensive front, Lawson flashed his potential last year on his way to a 7-sack season, the second-highest total of his career. But coming back from an Achilles tear takes time, not just physically, but mentally too. Towards the end of the season, it looked as though Lawson was starting to slow recording just 1 sack in his final 5 games. Like the rest of the Jets, Lawson seemed to hit a wall that was unscalable.

Fast-forward to yesterday and Lawson looked to be in the best shape of his life, saying he’s never felt so good. He also seems to have packed on even more muscle to a frame that appeared to be maxed out, but we should know better than to put any limits on Lawson.

For what it’s worth, Lawson has impressed early in OTA’s recording another would-be sack yesterday beating Max Mitchell on the outside shoulder. Will McDonald and Jermaine Johnson continue to impress early in camp as well, which all adds up to a devastating pass-rush arsenal at Robert Saleh’s disposal:

“The first year you’re not quite where you want to be, and then that second year everything comes back,” Saleh said Tuesday. “[Monday] was the first day we’ve seen him. He looks freaking awesome.

“I’m really excited for him and what he can do having two years removed from that injury.”

When asked if a double-digit sack season was on the cards, Lawson simply replied “Yes. … That’s a goal and that’s gonna happen.”

When asked why, he said faith.

I’m not much of a religious man, but I’ve got plenty of faith in Lawson this year.

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