Matt LaFleur’s offense in Green Bay is kind to the team’s tight ends. The Packers utilized 12 personnel on 24% of their offensive plays via sharpfootballstats.com, providing Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis, Jace Sternberger, Josiah Deguara, and Dominique Dafney opportunities to show their skill sets.
Robert Tonyan had a breakout year in 2020 and became a true TE1. The team spent third-rounders in back-to-back years on young tight ends in Sternberger and Deguara. The tight end group’s future seems bright. With such young stars, where does that leave the venerable Marcedes Lewis?
In his fifteenth season, Lewis’s strengths were still apparent. Despite the young blood surrounding him, Lewis is still the best blocking tight end in Green Bay. He’s likely one of the best in the league as a whole, even at age 36. Lewis played 422 snaps on offense in 2020, mainly as a blocker. His presence makes life much easier for the Packers’ talented running backs and can’t be discounted as a good reason for their success. With Lewis on the field, the team almost has a sixth offensive lineman.
While his role in the passing game isn’t what it was earlier in his career, Marcedes Lewis can still make plays. He caught 10-of-17 targets from the league’s MVP for 107 yards and three TDs.
Signing Lewis again won’t prevent the Packers from giving their young tight ends more opportunities. As mentioned, the Packers aren’t afraid to use multiple tight end sets often. Lewis provides a reliable blocker who can still catch the ball while providing a veteran experience. He’s indispensable as a mentor in the locker room and, for what it’s worth, he’s one of Aaron Rodgers’ favorite teammates.
While Lewis is one of the team’s many free agents, bringing him back wouldn’t be difficult. The Packers may not be flush with catch, but Lewis shouldn’t break the vault. Lewis’ made $2.3m in 2020 and seems willing to play on the veteran minimum if needed at this point in his career. As a big part of the balanced offense the Packers have, that’s good value for an invaluable veteran.
For Lewis’ part, despite getting closer to 40, he wants to keep playing, according to a recent TMZ interview. He’s not ready to retire, especially after playing in back-to-back NFC championships, and would love to stay in Green Bay.
Big Dog provides an offensive role not easily replaceable, brings a hardened veteran perspective, and is affordable. Even with a rising star in Tonyan and two exciting draft picks (as well as the intriguing Dafney), there is a place on the team for Lewis. The Green Bay Packers should absolutely bring Marcedes Lewis back in 2021, and, likely, beyond.Matt Hendershott is a Packers fan and Miller High Life enthusiast from Northwest Ohio. He has a Master of Arts in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHendershott.