carl lawson jets
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The Jets will be signing talented defensive end Carl Lawson, who notched 5.5 sacks for the Cincinnati Bengals last season.

Carl Lawson is headed to Florham Park.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Jets have acquired the Bengals defensive end. The deal is for three years and worth $45 million ($30 million guaranteed).

Lawson underwent a productive year with the Bengals last season, having racked up 36 combined tackles, 5.5 sacks, 32 quarterback hits, and a pair of forced fumbles. He’ll join a team led by the defensive-minded head coach that is Robert Saleh and will slot nicely into his 4-3 defensive scheme.

This is a beneficial move by general manager Joe Douglas, there’s no doubt about it. The Jets definitely need a boost to their pass rush in 2021 after recording just 31 sacks last season (tied for 20th in the NFL). This is especially the case when you take into consideration the potential departures of edge rushers Jordan Jenkins and Tarell Basham.

Lawson is a productive defensive end whose talent is on the rise, and given the Jets possess a significant amount of cap space, they were able to dish out notable cash for this contract.

The 25-year-old will arguably be the team’s top pass rusher this coming season and help improve a defense that struggled mightily last year (24th in total yards allowed, 26th in total points allowed). The defensive unit must succeed in order to take the pressure off whoever the team’s starting quarterback is — whether it’s Sam Darnold, Zach Wilson, or somehow Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson.

Expect the Jets to continue making strides to improve on the defensive side of the ball, whether it’s through this free agency period or during the NFL Draft later this offseason. Nonetheless, the fact the team is entering the 2021 campaign with Carl Lawson, Quinnen Williams, and Marcus Maye (who the Jets recently franchise tagged) should excite fans who are hoping for a noteworthy improvement after a two-win 2020 season.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.