The Cincinnati Bengals had a tough decision to make in the 2021 offseason regarding Carl Lawson and if they were going to keep him moving forward. Lawson led the team in sacks in the 2020 season (the Bengals were dead last in sacks, for what it's worth) yet the Bengals didn't re-sign him, opting to bring in Trey Hendrickson instead.
Bengals fans were a little perplexed by this move considering that Lawson had been productive while Hendrickson was a one-year wonder for the Saints at that point. Lawson went on to sign a three-year deal worth $45 million while Hendrickson signed a four-year deal worth $60 million, according to Spotrac.
Clearly, the Bengals made the right decision by picking Hendrickson over Lawson, as the former Bengal missed all of the Jets' 2021 season due to injury. He did manage to tally seven sacks this past season but Hendrickson beat him by one sack despite playing in two fewer games.
Now, Lawson might be a cap casualty for the Jets.
Former Bengals pass-rusher Carl Lawson is on the verge of being cut
Alex Kay of Bleacher Report included Lawson on his list of most surprising cap casualties this offseason.
"Releasing Lawson would save $15.3 million in cap space and incur only a $300,000 dead cap hit. With the Jets needing to shore up several areas to stay competitive following a disappointing end to a year that started with so much promise, that money could be better allocated to other areas."- Alex Kay
If Lawson is cut, he'll command a lot of attention in free agency so I wouldn't bank on Cincinnati being in the running to sign him. If, however, Lawson decides he wants to ring chase, perhaps a return to Cincinnati could fit into his agenda.
Lawson is still a very good player and will be able to earn a nice contract if the Jets do indeed part ways with him.