GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers are interested in former Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis and are expected to visit with him this week, an NFL source said.
Lewis could be the veteran blocking tight end the Packers are missing on their roster. Entering his 13th season in the NFL, the 34-year-old free agent would probably offer only modest pass-catching production, but the Packers don’t need him to start or carry the entire load at the position.
The 2006 first-round pick hasn’t had more than 25 receptions in each of the last five seasons, although some of that can be attributed to the Jaguars’ poor quarterback play. One constant in Lewis’ 12 seasons with the Jaguars has been effective blocking.
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At 6-6, 267 pounds, he’s roughly the size of former Packers free-agent acquisition Martellus Bennett, who was one of the best run-blocking tight ends in the NFL. Lewis has long been considered a good blocker, even though the Jaguars selected him with the hope he could be a top-receiving tight end.
Lewis started all 16 games last season and caught 24 passes for 318 yards and five touchdowns. It was his best season since 2013, when he caught 25 passes for 359 yards and four touchdowns.
In 12 seasons, he has caught 375 passes for 4,502 yards (12.0 average) and 33 touchdowns.
The Jaguars thought enough of Lewis to exercise a one-year, $3.5 million option on Feb. 20. However, after signing Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Niles Paul in free agency, they released him March 20.
The Packers have two known commodities at tight end with new addition Jimmy Graham and veteran Lance Kendricks. Graham is a tight end in name, but he lines up mostly at receiver positions because he can’t – and as some scouts say, isn’t willing to – block.
Kendricks tries to block, but over the course of his career, he has been used more as an H-back, playing multiple spots within the offense and rarely lining up down after down at a traditional tight end position.
The Packers also have a group of young undrafted tight ends who will be competing for roster spots in Emanuel Byrd, Robert Tonyan, Ryan Smith and Kevin Rader.