Veteran DL Carl Lawson named as a potential fit for Bears
Brad Penner - USA Today Sports

Veteran DL Carl Lawson named as a potential fit for Bears

by - Senior Writer -

It's no secret that the Chicago Bears' biggest need at this point is to acquire more pass-rushing help. While an entire season with Montez Sweat will help a lot, they need more help alongside him; otherwise, his overall production may be at a different level than some would think from an elite pass rusher.

Considering the in-house options the Bears have and hope to break out in 2024, adding more pass-rushing help may have to come from the outside, which shouldn't surprise the fans who watch this team. The problem that comes into play with that is the number of free agents left that are actually worth looking into.

We are well past the first wave of free agency, when most of the top pass rushers signed, and are now at the point in free agency where veteran players are patiently waiting for an opportunity to land a deal to show they still have something left in the tank. That worked for the Bears last season when they landed Yannick Ngakoue, although he did most of the second half of the season with an injury.

If that is the plan for Chicago again, why not look at former New York Jets pass rusher Carl Lawson who has been listed as an ideal fit for Chicago. Greg Gabriel of SB Nation's Windy City Gridiron has been on this topic all offseason long and has been dropping plenty of names into the mix for the Bears. Lawson is the next name he mentioned, and the more you think about it, the more it makes sense on a short-term deal.

“Carl Lawson is an interesting name, if only because he is younger (29) and has had 27 career sacks. The negative part is that he doesn’t fit the size and length criteria the Bears look for in a defensive end,” Gabriel wrote. “The Bears crave length with their defensive linemen and Lawson doesn’t have that trait. The other negative is Lawson is more of a designated pass rusher than an every-down defensive end. Being that is what Austin Booker is right now, does Lawson fit what the Bears need?”

Sometimes, you need to get out of your own way and do what it takes to build a winner, and Lawson would be a great way to do that, even if he doesn't fit the criteria that the Bears coaching staff looks for in an EDGE rushing player. At 6-2 and 265 pounds, the former fourth-round pick isn't your ideal sized EDGE player, but he is more than capable of holding his own on the field.

After picking up 20 career sacks in 51 games with the Bengals, Lawson signed with the Jets following the 2021 season and inked a 45 million dollar deal. Immediately after signing that contract, Lawson suffered the injury no one wants to endure as he tore his Achilles Tendon in August of that same season, thus shutting him down for the entire first year of his contract.

Once he returned to the field in 2022, Lawson continued to show the type of player he could be as he logged seven sacks for one of the better defenses in the league. Then came last season, where Lawson failed to register a sack and only played in six games. For whatever reason, Robert Saleh didn't like Lawson in his defense, and you could see that based on how long he was off the field.

That was the final year of his contract, and knowing what has transpired since he went to the Jets, it was easy for both parties to let him hit free agency and test the waters. Given his injury history, lack of size within the team's focus, and what some would call a limited skillset, Lawson doesn't make sense for this team on a long-term deal.

However, if the Bears look to land him on a one-year deal, that is a different story, as anyone can become a fit on a shorter deal. With Sweat leading the charge in the pass rush department and Demarcus Walker viewed as a very good second option, adding Lawson to this team would surely come as a depth pick-up option.

He would land a team-friendly deal that wouldn't tie the Bears to him for a ton of money while also giving the Bears another added element on the defensive side to get after the quarterback. Lawson could also serve as a bridge option for this season while the Bears wait for some of their younger guys to develop, and if that is the case, he makes it worth a cheap pickup.

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