Bears Trade Target: Carl Lawson
|Tuesday, May 23, 2023, 10:40 AM- -|
It is no secret that Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles wants to keep adding to his roster in an effort to make them the best team possible heading into camp. What that looks like from here remains to be seen, as he has already done a terrific job transforming this roster into what should be a much more competitive team this season.
Whether it be through the draft, free agency, or even the trade market, you could make the argument that the Chicago Bears are one of the most, if not the most, improved teams in the NFC this season, which bodes well for a wide-open NFC North division. If there was an area of concern heading into training camp, the defense had to the area, especially up front.
This defense ranked near the bottom in virtually every category last season, including yards allowed per carry and the fewest sacks. Poles did his best to address this through free agency and the draft, but more work needs to be done for this defense to improve. Ideally, with money left over to spend, the Bears should go the free-agent route if they intend to add more defensive talent.
That may be outside the cards right now, and Poles may be forced to trade with someone if he sees a player worth value. However, that may not be a bad thing, as the Bears have the assets to play and could swing a deal with just about anyone within reason.
One team that appears open for business is the New York Jets, as they have plenty of defensive studs to consider.
We talked the other day about the possibility of Bryce Huff and Quinnen Williams being trade targets for this team, but there is another name to consider. Given how Robert Salah has developed that defense, I find it very hard to think that any trade with the Jets would be a bust, as their defense was a top-10 defense for a reason. One of the lesser-known names on that defense is Carl Lawson, who may be on the trade block entering the season.
In the third year of his three-year contract that he signed in 2021, Lawson missed the entire first year of that deal with an Achilles injury and will now enter a contract year playing for a new deal (took a restricted pay cut recently).
When he returned to the field last season, Lawson bounced back in a big way and showed everyone why he deserved the initial extension in the first place. Entering his age 28 season, many people feel these are the prime years for players, as Lawson could be on the verge of breaking out.
Given what Lawson showed last season, Salah has made it clear that he wants him to stick around, but it isn't always that easy, and Poles should dangle some trade options in front of the Jets to see if they bite. Lawson is coming off of a seven-sack season, and before his injury in 2021, he finished with 5.5 during his final season with the Bengals.
Over 31 career starts, he has 27 sacks. Lawson would be a considerable upgrade to the Chicago Bears depth chart. He would provide more production than most of the Bear's current defensive players, but some are not sold on him, given he is an aging player that hasn't been elite. Sure, Lawson has been solid to good for several years, but the Bears need an elite pass rusher to help dictate the trenches.
As good as Lawson has been throughout his career, he has yet to hit double-digit sack totals, and that is not something you like to hear when you are trading for a player. Perhaps that has to deal with the players around him and the overall scheme in place. Lawson is worth taking a chance on for the right price, but any overpay for him would not be an intelligent move for Poles.