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$45 Million Pass Rusher Tied To Top Contender

According to an article by Pro Football Focus, the Dallas Cowboys could take a flier on free agent pass rusher Carl Lawson.
Carl Lawson Free Agent

Free agent Carl Lawson has yet to draw much interest on the open market, but that could change soon. The Auburn product is no stranger to being overlooked, as the former fourth-round pick had to see 115 players selected before him during the 2017 NFL Draft. He quickly proved to be one of the biggest steals of the draft, recording 8.5 sacks as a rookie.

While injuries have been an issue throughout his career, Carl Lawson eventually signed a three-year, $45 million deal with the Jets as a free agent. Unfortunately, he tore his Achilles in 2021 and had to wait until 2022 to make his debut with Gang Green. While he recorded seven sacks in his de-facto first season in New York, he hardly saw the field in 2023.

Because of this, Carl Lawson represents a low-risk, medium-reward free agent signing. According to Brad Speilberger of Pro Football Focus, the Dallas Cowboys should take a flier on the former fourth-round pick.

Free Agent Pass Rusher Carl Lawson Tied to Dallas Cowboys

This might not be the all-in free agent move Cowboys fans envisioned back in March, but Carl Lawson would help this team. As it is, Dallas should have one of the better defenses in the league, but they could use another edge rusher. Micah Parson and Demarcus Lawrence are still great, but they could use a third option. In today’s pass-happy NFL, you can never have too many players capable of getting after the quarterback.

At this point in his career, Carl Lawson is probably best utilized in a situational role, which makes him an even better free agent fit for the Cowboys. Barring an injury, Lawson can stay off the field on run plays and only come in during clear passing situations.

As mentioned earlier, Carl Lawson isn’t drawing too much free agent interest, but that could change after the 2024 NFL Draft. All 32 teams are fighting over the same prospects, and there aren’t enough good edge defenders to go around. If some team misses out on their preferred prospects, they could turn to Lawson on the open market.

Other Potential Fits

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars had the fewest sacks in the league last year, which is tough to do when you have Josh Allen on your roster. With the former first-round pick locked up to a major deal, Jacksonville needs to pair him with a cost-effective pass rusher on the other side. With Arik Armstead generating pressure from the interior, Carl Lawson won’t have to be anything more than the third-best pass rusher on this roster, and his free agent contract should reflect that.

Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens lost multiple starters in free agency, including former first-overall pick Jadeveon Clowney. While Kyle Van Noy is returning to join youngsters Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo, this team could use a free agent like Carl Lawson to provide some additional depth. Age could catch up to Van Noy any minute now, and Oweh and Ojabo still need to prove they can handle larger roles.

Atlanta Falcons

Assuming Kirk Cousins can recover from his Achilles injury, the Atlanta Falcons offense should be good enough to win the NFC South. However, if they want to go on a deep playoff run, they’ll need to improve their defense. Carl Lawson isn’t going to singlehandedly fix this pass rush, but the free agent can provide a steadying presence along the defensive line. With mock drafts having the Falcons targeting Dallas Turner, Lawson could complement the talented prospect and give Atlanta two players capable of taking down the quarterback.

New Orleans Saints

Even with Chase Young on the roster, the New Orleans Saints could use another edge rusher. Unfortunately, they don’t have the money to get a big-name option, and they’re probably going to use their first-round pick on an offensive tackle. Considering the current state of the franchise, Carl Lawson might be the most practical free agent option remaining. Seeing as the Saints offense probably won’t set any records, this team needs to win with defense if they want to make it back to the playoffs.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs have pressing needs at wide receiver, cornerback, and left tackle. Because of this, they might not have the opportunity to get a top edge defender in the 2024 NFL Draft or on the open market. With this in mind, Carl Lawson could be the perfect free agent target. Felix Anudike-Uzomah didn’t show much as a rookie, but it’s too early to completely give up on him. Lawson can be an adequate starter in the event Uzomah doesn’t improve, or he can work situationally if the former first-round pick makes the Year 2 leap.

Main Photo: Vincent Carchietta – USA Today Sports


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