Ex-Bengals DE Carl Lawson Enters Free Agency

Bengals' savvy move reshapes defensive line dynamics.

by Nouman Rasool
Ex-Bengals DE Carl Lawson Enters Free Agency
© Steph Chambers/Getty Images

In a significant development within the NFL, Carl Lawson, the former standout defensive end for the Cincinnati Bengals, is once again on the brink of entering free agency. Lawson, who was originally selected in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Bengals, has experienced a tumultuous journey since his departure from Cincinnati.

The New York Jets, Lawson's most recent team, made headlines this week by voiding four contracts, including that of Lawson. The move comes after Lawson's tenure with the Jets, which was marked by a mixture of high expectations and unfortunate setbacks.

Upon signing a lucrative $45 million deal with the Jets in 2021, optimism was high for Lawson's impact on the team's defense. However, an injury sidelined him for the entirety of the 2021 season, and subsequent injuries limited his contributions to just 17 games in 2022 and a mere six games in the most recent season due to a back injury incurred during training camp.

Bengals' Strategic Masterstroke

In the wake of Carl Lawson's departure, the Cincinnati Bengals adeptly managed the transition by acquiring Trey Hendrickson during the 2021 offseason. This move, viewed in hindsight, emerges as a particularly shrewd decision, equipping the Bengals with a powerful asset in Hendrickson, whose presence has significantly amplified their pass-rushing capabilities.

The unfolding scenario raises intriguing possibilities, particularly regarding the Bengals' potential interest in a reunion with Carl Lawson. As Lawson approaches free agency, the question looms whether the Bengals might consider him as a valuable addition to their defensive lineup, especially for providing depth behind Hendrickson.

Lawson's health and fitness, as he approaches his age-29 season, will be crucial factors in determining his next career move. With his track record of robust performance when healthy, Lawson could offer a compelling option for teams in need of bolstering their pass rush, provided he can demonstrate his readiness to return to full form.