The Green Bay Packers should not have to worry about tight ends from now until training camp in 2021 — Marcedes “Big Dog” Lewis has been re-signed to a two-year deal. It’s a win-win for everyone. Lewis wanted to stay with the Packers, and they had enough salary cap space to complete their tight end depth chart with a team favorite.
Lewis announced the signing on Instagram as well, with some wonderful words for Packers fans:
When the offseason began, Lewis had expressed interest in returning to Green Bay. Head coach Matt LaFleur said several times during exit interviews that Lewis meant a lot to the team and was a veteran leader in the locker room. It appears those praises were heard, and he will continue to be a Packer.
Lewis in Green Bay
The 6’6″ California native will return to the Packers for his fourth (and then hopefully fifth) straight season after spending 12 years with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Marcedes was rewarded for his play on and off the field. Between 2018 and 2020, Lewis made just over $2 million a year. This two-year, $8 million deal should double that. Only $4 million is guaranteed, so it looks like there will be bonuses and incentives included in the deal. That means you can bank on Rodgers looking for him in the end zone a lot more again the next two seasons.
The former first-round pick has only missed one game in his three seasons with the Packers. He may be turning 37 this year, but you couldn’t tell by the way he looks, blocks, or currently plays. While in green and gold, Lewis has had 28 receptions for 302 yards and four touchdowns.
He was overshadowed by Jimmy Graham in his first two years. The Packers paid an awful lot for Graham and were hoping for production on the field. Rodgers would often look to him in the red zone and give him plenty of chances. This caused some frustration for Lewis, who originally wasn’t going to return to the Packers after the 2018 season. The team is lucky he did.
After Graham signed with the Chicago Bears, Lewis and Robert Tonyan proved to be a much more talented, better-matched pair. Lewis and Tonyan had a combined 14 touchdowns in 2020. There is not much stopping them from having more in 2021.
Tight-End Position Set
With limited team salary space and 10 picks in the upcoming draft, there should be absolutely no reason the Packers need to sign or draft a tight end. If they draft one instead of a true position of need, fans will have every right to be upset.
Tonyan will line up as TE1 next year; he’s earned that spot. Lewis is an amazing blocker and player, and will definitely be on the field as well. He will be helping Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon become one of the best running back duos in the league. LaFleur loves including Lewis in a lot of his packages.
You also have developing youth in Jace Sternberger and Josiah Deguara. Both players have been plagued with injures early in their careers, but they still have time to show what they’ve got. Deguara will only be in his sophomore NFL season, and he looked impressive before a knee injury in October knocked him out the rest of his rookie year. Sternberger has been on and off the injured list as well but had an impressive outing in the 2019 NFC Championship Game.
There isn’t any pressure on their shoulders going into 2021 to have to start or live up to lofty expectations. They are in a perfect spot to grow and become solid backups to Tonyan and Lewis. Dominique Dafney also had some head-turning drives and games when injuries hit the position in 2020. This group is stacked.
Both Lewis and Kevin King brought back to the team this week. It’s doubtful the Packers will sign a lot of other players. That means almost the exact same squad is returning next season. That team went to an NFC Championship. If you add three or four impactful players from this year’s draft and your young players develop further, a Super Bowl is well within reach.
It appears Green Bay has the band back together.
Some casual fans may not know much about Lewis or consider his stats all that impressive, but he has a lot to offer. I personally remember him in Jacksonville, when he was always a reliable player to watch or draft in Fantasy Football. I was thrilled when he came to Green Bay.
Watching him at Lambeau Field in 2018 and 2019 was always a blast. The crowd is excited when Lewis gets the ball. He didn’t get enough looks or receptions, but every one of them was exciting. It’s so unfortunate there were barely any fans in the bleachers to watch him catch three touchdowns last year.
If you haven’t noticed what Lewis has brought to the team over the past three seasons, I pity you. Watch his film. Search out his interviews and interactions. Find the quotes Aaron Rodgers has about him. Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said just this month, “You can’t have enough guys that are wired like him in your building.”
And Packers fans seem to enjoy Big Dog too:
If you don’t follow or appreciate Marcedes Lewis yet, there is always time to start.