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Marcedes Lewis' return gives Packers solid blocker at tight end

Ryan Wood
Packers News

GREEN BAY - A week after releasing one of their veteran tight ends, the Green Bay Packers made sure they retained another.

The Packers re-signed Marcedes Lewis to a one-year, $2.25 million contract, agent Bus Cook confirmed. The deal ensured coach Matt LaFleur will have a sound blocker at tight end in his offense, and also retained a veteran leader at the position after the release of Jimmy Graham last week.

Lewis is the elder statesman at a thin position that includes youngsters Jace Sternberger and Robert Tonyan. The Packers are almost certainly interested in further adding to the position, whether in free agency or the draft, but Lewis’ signing provides an element LaFleur has prioritized in his scheme.

Jan 19, 2020; Santa Clara, CA USA;  Green Bay Packers tight end Marcedes Lewis (89) before the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levin's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

“I was in a really good place last year,” Lewis said after the season. “Having this offense and knowing conceptually what they wanted, and LaFleur and having Justin Outten as my tight ends coach, I mean, I got better every day at 35 years old, I feel like I was getting better every day. My rep count went up to mid-30s toward half the season.

“So, I mean, it was really dope. I’d love to come back.”

That Lewis also showed he’s still a capable receiver last season likely made the Packers all the more interested in keeping him on their roster. Lewis, now entering his 15th NFL season, caught 15 passes on 19 targets for 156 yards and one touchdown in 2019. Those numbers might not seem like much for a former Pro Bowler, but they were vastly more than his three catches on four targets for 39 yards in 2018.

His primary function is to block. Lewis was used more in that aspect in LaFleur’s first season, playing 487 snaps after just 190 snaps under former coach Mike McCarthy. Despite his age – Lewis turns 36 in May – the veteran has remained durable, playing all 32 games in two seasons with the Packers.

“When I wake up in the morning,” Lewis said, “I still love it, and I really feel like physically will leave before mentally, as far as me wanting to come back and play. Physically, I was in the best shape I’ve ever been in, in my life. There was not one game that I went into it feeling like I was at a disadvantage.”

Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel contributed.