The Bills plan not to exercise the fifth-year option on Lawson's rookie contract before Friday's deadline, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports. That means Lawson, who would have been scheduled to make nearly $10 million in 2020, is entering a contract year and will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. While it's possible the two sides could come to an agreement before next offseason to keep Lawson in Buffalo at a lower price, the Clemson product might prefer to bet on himself to improve his production as a pass rusher. In so doing, Lawson could maximize his earnings within a pass-first league that seemingly values edge players more and more each year.
Lawson posted 2.0 sacks and a forced fumble in Sunday's win over the Dolphins. It was the first multi-sack game for the 2016 first-rounder from Clemson. Lawson finishes up the best campaign of his career with 18 tackles and 4.0 sacks to go with two forced fumbles. He's still not a full-fledged starter, which could carry into next season if the Bills keep all of Lawson, Jerry Hughes and Trent Murphy. From a team perspective, however, that trio would give the Bills an excellent starting point for the defensive end spots.
Lawson had two tackles and two passes defensed in Sunday's loss to the Jets. He played 28 defensive snaps. With Trent Murphy healthy again, the two are sharing snaps at defensive end while Jerry Hughes sees the majority of playing time on the other side. Lawson has played well this season, especially during Murphy's absences, but if he's not getting a full snap share, he's not IDP worthy. That said, this has turned into the best season of the previously disappointing 2016 first-rounder's career, so he may have put himself back into the team's long-term plans for 2019 and beyond.
Lawson (elbow) has avoided the inactive list Week 12 against Jacksonville. Both Lawson and fellow edge rusher Trent Murphy are listed as active, so the Buffalo pass rush will be at full strength for the home matchup.
Lawson (elbow) practiced on a limited basis Friday and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against Jacksonville, Chris Brown of the Bills' official site reports. Coach Sean McDermott says his pass rusher will likely play, so we'll assume Lawson's on the better side of questionable. Fellow defensive end Trent Murphy is also listed as questionable, but if both suit up, they'll likely be sharing snaps throughout the afternoon. A healthy Jerry Hughes will likely get the highest volume among the team's three main defensive ends.
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