The Jets severed ties with DE Lawson after a year of trying

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FLORHAM PARK, NJ – Defensive Shaq Lawson, a former first-round pick whose playing time was reduced in recent weeks, was released Saturday by the New York Jets.

Lawson, 27, was a healthy scratch in two of the last three games. His release was inevitable as he had to reckon with $ 9 million on the salary cap in 2022. He was a one-year stopgap player for the Jets, who traded for him at the end of the preseason.

The Jets also released veteran safety Sharrod Neasman, who played in 11 games with 14 tackles and one interception.

When they lost defensive end Carl Lawson to a season-ending Achilles injury in training camp, the Jets set out to find a veteran replacement. They ended up with Lawson and sent a sixth-round pick in 2022 to the Houston Texans.

Lawson, a pick in the first round of the Buffalo Bills in 2016, played in 14 games for the Jets, starting seven. He finished with just 23 tackles and a sack, but made one of the season’s most influential defensive plays.

Against Cincinnati in Week 8, Lawson tipped a pass from Joe Burrow and caught the deflection on the Bengals ’15-yard line with less than five minutes to play, setting up the Jets’ game-winning touchdown. Afterwards, several players called Lawson’s play one of the best interceptions by a defensive lineman they had ever seen.

The former Clemson star has played for three teams in six years, not including the Texans, who bought him from the Miami Dolphins in March 2021. He never saw action in the regular season for Houston. Lawson has 21.5 career sacks in 78 games.

The Jets (4-12) close out the season Sunday at the Buffalo Bills (10-6).

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