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Jaguars 2016 free agent profile: Will Marcedes Lewis return for one more year?

Marcedes Lewis is a free agent this year. Should the Jaguars re-sign him to another contract?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars are in a position where they don’t have many impending free agents that you’re really "scared" to lose, like some other teams heading into the 2016 NFL offseason. They're in a situation where they’re in the middle of the lean years of veteran players on their roster because of all the misses in the past drafts and now being filled with young players on rookie deals, so most of the players coming free are at the tail end of their careers or the end of their rookie contracts and not really worth bringing back.

One grizzled veteran however who will be an interesting case this offseason is tight end Marcedes Lewis. Originally drafted at the back end of the first round of the NFL Draft a decade ago, he’s been a pretty consistent presence on the Jaguars offense since he was picked. He’s dealt with injuries a lot in his career, but in my opinion he has been a solid player for the vast majority of his career and at times held back by quarterback play. He’s in the twilight of his NFL career right now, but he might be worth hanging on to.

What he does well: Lewis was originally drafted as pass catching tight end, looking like a power forward grabbing rebounds and running the floor (seam) in his college days at UCLA. He was quickly molded into one of, if not the, best blocking tight ends in the NFL a few seasons into his NFL career and that was really were he made his money. He was an extension of the offensive line who could also provide a big red zone target and move the chains in the passing game. At this point in Lewis’ career though, his blocking is starting to taper off and while still good at it, he’s not the force he once was. Lewis is usually good for a few big passing plays a season at his current state and could potentially be a nice stop-gap 2nd/3rd tight end for a team who likes to run a lot of two tight end sets on offense.

Concerns: Injury have been a big part of Lewis’ career, namely high ankle sprains which have plagued him. Lewis was able to stay healthy all last season, the first time since 2012, but with the addition of Julius Thomas as the primary pass catching tight end, his production as a received has continue to decline since that Pro Bowl season in 2010. Lewis is still a capable pass catching tight end, but his hands have always seemed to crop up at the worst time and his not-so-fast-as-is speed is also slowing down more. Turning 32 this offseason I wouldn’t classify Lewis as being "done", but he’s at this point a rotational tight end option.

Outlook: Depending on the free agent landscape and the NFL Draft class, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lewis return for one more season with the Jaguars. He’s a veteran leader in the locker room and has never really voiced any concerns about his role with the team, even with the addition of Thomas to the roster. He’s a good fit for what the Jaguars like doing in two tight sets. I would think Lewis is back for one more year on a minimal deal.