GREEN BAY — Marcedes Lewis sometimes seemed like the forgotten man during his first season with the Green Bay Packers.
Now he’ll get another chance with a new head coach, a new offensive scheme and an offensive coordinator who knows him and his skill set.
The Packers and the veteran tight end agreed to terms on a one-year contract Wednesday, an NFL source confirmed after ESPN was first to report the deal. The agreement was reached after close of business Wednesday, so it wasn’t done in time for the official NFL transaction wire.
Lewis, who turns 35 in May, signed a one-year deal with the Packers last year after 12 seasons in Jacksonville but was used primarily as a blocker by former head coach Mike McCarthy. Lewis played in all 16 games last season but was targeted just four times and caught three passes for 39 yards.
By returning, Lewis is reunited with Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who was his coordinator and play-caller in Jacksonville in 2016 and ’17, when Lewis had 44 receptions for 487 yards and six touchdowns.
At the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis last month, new head coach Matt LaFleur said that he values a blocking tight end in his scheme, saying that blocking “is definitely something we look for and we’re going to demand from that position, no doubt about it. But I think that’s the beauty of coaching. You find out what your guys can do well and you try to put them in position to have success. That’s what our job is to do.”
General manager Brian Gutekunst indicated at the combine that veteran tight end Jimmy Graham will also be back in 2019. The Packers also tendered exclusive rights free agent Robert Tonyan but tight end figures to be a priority in next month’s NFL Draft.
Packers tender Allison, pass on Brice
The Packers officially extended a qualifying offer to restricted free-agent wide receiver Geronimo Allison, putting a right-of-first-refusal tender on the fourth-year wideout. Allison was on his way to a breakout season in 2018, catching 20 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns in the first five games before suffering a season-ending core muscle injury that required surgery.
Allison came to Green Bay as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2016 after playing collegiately at Illinois. By using the lowest tender on him, the Packers retained the right to match any offer Allison gets but wouldn’t get any compensation if Allison signed an offer sheet and the Packers opted not to match it. The low tender is worth $2.025 million.
Meanwhile, the Packers did not make a qualifying offer to safety Kentrell Brice, making him a full-fledged free agent. While opting not to tender Brice doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t be back — the Packers have eschewed tenders on other restricted free agents in the past in order to sign them to lower-cost deals — ESPN.com reported that Brice is planning to move on.
Ex-Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, a 2014 first-round pick whom the Packers sent to the Washington Redskins at the trade deadline in October, was headed to Chicago for a visit with the Bears Wednesday, according to NFL Network. The Bears are in the market for a safety after starter Adrian Amos agreed to terms with the Packers on Tuesday on a four-year, $37 million deal that included an $11 million signing bonus. The Packers got a fourth-round pick for Clinton-Dix, giving them six picks in the first four rounds of next month’s draft … New offensive lineman Billy Turner, who agreed to a four-year, $28 million deal on Tuesday, has some history with the Packers. His father, Maurice, was a 12th-round pick by the Minnesota Vikings in 1983 and played 27 career NFL games as a running back — including three for the Packers in 1985. Billy Turner grew up in the Twin Cities and went to college at North Dakota State.