Roster Move: Veteran tight end re-signs with Bears
Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

Roster Move: Veteran tight end re-signs with Bears

by - Senior Writer -

Ever since the conclusion of the 2024 NFL Draft, news across the NFL has been scarce at best. Sure, you had the massive Justin Jefferson contract extension last week that stole the show, but when you look at the Chicago Bears, not much has happened since draft weekend. According to reports from Halas Hall late Sunday, veteran TE Mercedes Lewis is expected to be in town on Monday, and he is expected to resign from the Chicago Bears for one more season. If that is the case, this will be his 19th career NFL season, as he will become the longest-tenured player in this league.

Although this isn't a significant signing by any means, it's still a transaction for the Bears and that is always something worth discussing even if many feel it as a minor move. The ageless veteran would be joining a TE room that already has Cole Kmet and Gerald Everett so expect him to be used primarily as a blocking TE which was his primary role last season.

Not only will he provide another blocker for the running game, but his veteran presence alone in the locker room is something that will help young players such as Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze and that you can't teach. To say this would be a surprising move would be an understatement, but it is one that could have more value than we even realize right now.

As was the case last season when he signed a one-year deal, Lewis was viewed as the No. 3 TE then and will again be the No. 3 TE. Given his age and his current role in the NFL, the Bears were the perfect fit for him last season, and the fit remains good for this season, which is why he is coming back to Chicago to sign another one-year deal.

The former UCLA Bruin just turned 40 last month and is coming off a season where he played in all 17 games. However, he did next to nothing production-wise, as he caught four passes for 26 yards while only playing in 29% of the offensive snaps. Some say that this type of production is a wasted signing when you have other younger options you could go with. Still, being a veteran and familiar with this organization, this is one of those low-cost moves a team makes that come with minimal risk.

Although he didn't offer much from a production standpoint, one of his four receptions did result in a touchdown, and he was the oldest skill player in the league last season. Should he pick up another TD this season, he would still be the oldest skill player, which goes to show how good his work ethic and conditioning have been across his career.

At 6-6 and 265 pounds, Lewis is massive for a TE, which makes him an ideal fit for being what some would call an extra blocker on the field. His 6-6 frame also makes him a legitimate red zone threat should they put him into specific red zone packages. Despite his production going down in each of the last handful of seasons, Lewis was once one of the more consistent TEs in the game.

He had a five-year run with the Jacksonville Jaguars where he averaged 547 yards receiving and four TDs per season. That included a career best 700 yard, 10 TD performance in 2010 which landed him a Pro Bowl selection that season. Since 2013 however, Lewis has been reserved to second or third string TE roles and has had just two seasons of more than 300 yards receiving in a season.

That includes his last two seasons when he has a combined 95 yards receiving and just 376 yards over the past three seasons. For his career, Lewis has hauled in 436 receptions for 5113 yards and 40 scores. Adding Lewis back to their TE room rounds out the TEs nicely. You have the ageless veteran who brings a physical style to his game in Lewis, a young and budding star in Kmet who is used as a possession TE, while Everett will be seen as the stretch-the-field athletic type.

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