Carl Lawson’s career trajectory took a significant downturn following his high-profile signing with the New York Jets in 2021.
The esteemed edge-rusher endured a season-ending Achilles rupture before even taking his inaugural regular-season snap for Gang Green, and since then, he has struggled to reclaim the elite form he showcased earlier in his career.
In 2022, Lawson seemed to be on the path to reclaiming stardom, featuring in all 17 games and accumulating 7.5 sacks—his highest tally since an impressive 8.5-sack rookie campaign in 2017.
However, a setback ensued, with the 28-year-old spending a considerable portion of the subsequent season on the sidelines as a healthy scratch.
Notably, Lawson failed to register a sack in any of the six games he participated in during 2023.
Expressing his dissatisfaction with being sidelined in New York’s deep edge-rushing rotation, Lawson vocalized his desire to contribute, emphasizing that he saw himself as a “football player, not a cheerleader.”
Although trade rumors circulated, no deal materialized, paving the way for Lawson to explore free agency and seek a team offering more playing time.
As a seasoned pass-rusher, Lawson presents an appealing option for numerous teams currently in need of defensive prowess.
His combination of speed and power could prove invaluable if he can maintain good health, a prospect that many teams might find worth the gamble.
Among potential suitors, the Arizona Cardinals emerge prominently.
The team faces defensive challenges after conceding an average of 26.8 points per game in the previous season, marking the second-worst performance in the league.
Edge-rushing stands out as a top priority, as evidenced by the team’s No. 30 ranking with a modest 33 sacks.
A fit and ready Lawson could significantly enhance this statistic for the Cardinals without imposing a substantial financial burden.