I had a feeling the Jacksonville Jaguars may release wide receiver Allen Hurns at some point this offseason. The news that the team released veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis came out of left field.
Hurns, who had an injury-filled 2017 campaign, was due to make $7 million this coming season. The team just re-signed Marqise Lee and added former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Donte Moncrief in free agency. With Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole on the roster, someone had to go. There weren’t enough balls to go around.
Per ESPN.com’s Michael DiRocco, before the move was announced, Lewis told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he got the news from his agent and feels “disrespected” by the timing. The move comes nearly a week after free agency began.
“I wish they would have done it sooner,” he said. “I think I deserved a little better than this.”
With his release, the Jacksonville Jaguars save another $3.5 million in cap space.
Hurns sent a tweet out, thanking the organization for his time in Jacksonville. He said he was excited to see what is next in his career. There are still teams out there who could use his services. Hurns was an undrafted free agent out of Miami who signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014 – the same draft class as Lee and Allen Robinson.
Lee caught 64 passes for 1,031 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2015, making him one of only four receivers in franchise history to surpass 1,000 yards in a season. In 2016, he signed a $40.05 million extension in included $20 million guaranteed. Since signing that deal, however, he has missed 11 games because of injury and caught 74 passes for 961 yards and five touchdowns.
Lewis was the sole remaining member of the Jaguars 2007 playoff team and was the longest-tenured player on the roster. He and center Brad Meester are the only players in team history to have played 12 years with the organization.
The Jaguars signed tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins to a free agent contract last week. He, Ben Koyack and James O’Shaughnessy are the only tight ends on the active roster. Lewis, 33, appeared in 170 games for the Jaguars and totaled 375 catches for 4,502 yards (12.0 avg.) and 33 TDs in 12 seasons with the team. In 2017, Lewis caught 24 passes for 318 yards (13.3 avg.) and five TDs. Lewis was originally drafted by Jacksonville in the first round (28th overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft.
Lewis’ career receiving totals – 375 receptions, 4,502 receiving yards and 33 receiving TDs – are the most by a tight end in franchise history and the third-most by a player in Jaguars history.
Without saying anything, the Jacksonville Jaguars may have tipped their hand as to where their attention lies with the NFL Draft. This is year where as many as four tight ends could hear their name called in the first round.