The Green Bay Packers have lost a handful of veterans this offseason, and now general manager Brian Gutekunst is unlikely to bring back a key figure in the locker room from the past few years.
Free agent tight end Marcedes Lewis, who played for the Packers from 2018 to 2022, will not be re-signed by the Packers, SI.com’s Bill Huber reported on May 7. He wrote that the team will let its younger players grow with increased playing time.
Green Bay selected two tight ends in the 2023 NFL draft, Luke Musgrave in the second round and Tucker Kraft in the third round. They become No. 1 and 2 on the Packers’ depth chart, with no established tight ends on the roster to mentor them.
It’s unclear what the future holds for “Big Dog.” Lewis isn’t interested in reuniting with Aaron Rodgers on the New York Jets, and his specific role as a blocking tight end and age (he’ll turn 39 on May 19) could limit the number of teams interested in him.
An Impressive Career for Marcedes Lewis
Lewis successfully established himself as an unsung hero on NFL rosters for nearly two decades thanks to his massive frame and run-blocking ability.
Lewis was a first-round pick back in 2006 out of UCLA, starting his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He spent his first 12 NFL seasons with the franchise, earning Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors in 2010 after racking up 58 receptions for 700 yards and 10 touchdowns.
After an impressive run with the Jaguars, Lewis signed on with the Packers in 2018, serving primarily as an in-line blocker for the team’s rushing attack. In five seasons with Green Bay, he missed only one game despite a physically demanding role in the offense.
There has been no indication that the veteran tight end plans to retire. If he is able to play for a new team in 2023, he will be playing in his 18th career season, which would break the record for most seasons played by a tight end, a record he currently shares with Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten.
Considering his under-the-radar role, it would be fitting for Lewis to end his career with an NFL record.
What to Expect From Green Bay’s Newest Tight Ends
Neither Musgrave or Kraft has the same skill set as Lewis, but both bring exciting playmaking ability to Green Bay.
Musgrave was unable to showcase his talents beyond just two games at Oregon State last season due to a season-ending knee injury. However, the film from his time with the Beavers shows a player with rare size and length along with impressive speed as showcased by his 40-yard dash time of only 4.60 seconds.
Meanwhile, Kraft brings a different kind of pass-catching ability. While not a lengthy speedster like Musgrave, the rookie out of South Dakota State brings a ton of value after the catch, bullying defenders and refusing to go down.
With these two tight ends now in Green Bay, Jordan Love will have a pair of weapons in the middle of the field to work with in 2023 and beyond.