Report: Veteran TE to re-sign with Bears

    Jay Glazer of FOX Sports is the one to report that he was informed by Lewis that the 18-year veteran will meet with the Bears tomorrow with the intention to re-sign in Chicago. 

    On the same day that we see Darren Waller
    retire after nine years in the league, the NFL’s second-longest tenured player announces that he intends to return for Year 19. A first-round pick out of UCLA in 2006, only Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (drafted in 2005) has been in the NFL longer than Lewis.

    Lewis spent the majority of his career in Jacksonville, playing 12 years with the Jaguars. He would finally leave Duval for Green Bay, signing three one-year contracts followed by a two-year deal in five seasons with the Packers. 

    Lewis waited until the final month before the season in 2023 to sign with the Bears, breaking the record for most seasons played by a tight end in NFL history. He’ll presumably continue to expand that legacy in 2024.

    Lewis has never been a relatively productive tight end. Including a Pro Bowl season in 2010 that saw Lewis record career-highs in catches (58), yards (700) and touchdowns (10), Lewis has only broken the 500-yard receiving mark three times and caught more than four touchdowns twice. 

    Since 2012, he hasn’t recorded over 400 yards in a season, and since leaving Jacksonville, his highest yardage total in a season was 214.

    None of that is to say that Lewis is not a strong contributor, even as he enters his age-40 season. Just last year saw Lewis grade out as the league’s fifth-best tight end, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), thanks to some stellar blocking grades, something for which Lewis has been known throughout his career. 

    Despite his dwindling receiving contributions in the last several years, Lewis has remained a starter in most seasons. After starting four games in his first season with the Packers, Lewis became a full-time starter for the next three-and-a-half games.

    Lewis started four games in Chicago while appearing in every contest last year. He saw minimal targets, catching fewer than 10 passes for the second straight season, but still saw significant snaps as TE2 for the Bears behind Cole Kmet

    With Kmet as a premier receiving tight end, finishing ninth in receiving yards for the position last year, the Bears don’t need Lewis to be the every-down tight end he once was in his career. But his vast years of experience have clearly made him an asset in the locker room as he continues to get contracts in the NFL.

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