Shaq Lawson's tenure with the Houston Texans lasted only the summer as the club has reportedly traded the defensive end to the New York Jets in exchange for a 2022 sixth-round pick. This move comes off the heels of the Jets losing free agent prize Carl Lawson for the season due to a torn Achilles. The team now hopes they'll be able to plug in a Lawson for a Lawson to further solidify the front seven heading into the regular season under first-year head coach Robert Saleh.
With this trade now agreed upon, we'll dissect it a bit more and give our grades for both the Jets and Texans below.
New York Jets: A
The Jets desperately needed pass-rushing help in the aftermath of Carl Lawson going down for the year and they did a strong job identifying Shaq Lawson as someone who can help replace him. In 14 games played for the Dolphins last season, Lawson totaled four sacks and tied a career-high with 18 quarterback hits. He also accounted for 25 pressures and six hurries in 2020 so he should prove to be a solid piece along this defensive line. That said, the Jets shouldn't be expecting to get the same exact production that they were poised to get from Carl Lawson, who inked a three-year, $45 million contract this offseason. He was heading to New York after a strong career with the Bengals where he had 44 pressures and 11 hurries in 2020 to go along with 5.5 sacks. Shaq Lawson's arrival certainly helps cushion the loss, but the defense will still miss the 26-year-old's presence.
This was also a savvy move by GM Joe Douglas from a cost standpoint. The trade only cost the team a late Day 3 pick next year and, financially, New York will only need to pay Lawson $990,000 in base salary in 2021. He'll then see $8.9 million in 2022 if he's still on the roster.
It also should be pointed out that Lawson comes to the Jets with some in-depth knowledge of the AFC East. He spent the first four seasons of his career with the Buffalo Bills -- who selected him in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft -- and was with the Miami Dolphins for the entire 2020 season before being traded to the Texans back in March. Having that familiarity with New York's division rivals should prove to be beneficial as he jumps into this defense.
Houston Texans: B
Kind of an odd turn of events for Lawson and the Texans. He was originally acquired by Houston back in March in a trade with the Dolphins and merely spent the summer with the organization before being shipped out of town again. In that original move, the Texans acquired Lawson and a 2022 sixth-round pick in exchange for linebacker Benardrick McKinney and a 2021 seventh-rounder. With this latest trade now executed, the Texans essentially picked up two sixth-rounders in 2022 for McKinney. While that doesn't completely shake the 2022 NFL Draft to its core, collecting as much draft capital as possible is important for a Texans team that is on the doorstep of an entire franchise rebuild. This preseason, Lawson played sparingly and totaled five tackles with two pressures.