The Cincinnati Bengals have lost Carl Lawson.
According to Ian Rapoport, Lawson is joining the New York Jets.
Lawson, who will be a fifth-year player in 2021, is one of the NFL’s more underrated pass-rushers. He doesn’t pile up sacks but gets a ton of pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
In his second-career 16-game season last year, the former Auburn Tigers star finished with 5.5 sacks, four tackles for loss, and 32 total quarterback hits. Per Pro-Football-Reference.com, Lawson’s 44 pressures were nearly half of the total pressures from the Bengals’ entire defensive line (91).
In addition, Lawson was ranked 13th amongst starting edge defenders by Pro Football Focus (76.3), and ninth in pass-rushing grade (84.9).
According to ESPN’s Created Sacks metric, Lawson was the first defender to win his block on 10.5 of Cincinnati’s 17 sacks last season. This means he helped create an additional five sacks on top of his own 5.5.
Leading into the start of free agency, Lawson told Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic that the Bengals were the front-runners to retain his services.
“Of course the Bengals are the front-runner; we just haven’t gotten to any of the negotiations and stuff yet,” Lawson said. “I just know, talking with the Bengals, I think they would do right by me. And we’ll get that situation talked about first, but there is a lot of interest out there; that’s what I’m hearing.”
This is a big L for the Bengals. No getting around that. This will be a tough move to rebound from.
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