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NFL free agency 2018: Should the Carolina Panthers pursue tight end Marcedes Lewis?

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The Jacksonville Jaguars released Lewis today. He could be on the Panthers’ radar.

NFL: AFC Championship-Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced today they would be releasing Marcedes Lewis and Allen Hurns.

While I do not believe the Panthers will pursue Allen Hurns simply because of how inflated the wide receiver market is getting, when I saw Lewis was released my immediate thought was “Ron Rivera would love to have Lewis on our team.” At first, I hated the idea after the Panthers lost out on the Eric Ebron sweepstakes, while we continue to wait on word for Luke Willson. However, after some careful consideration and discussion, I actually would not be opposed to bringing in Lewis, if the price is right.

Blocking

For starters, the biggest thing the Panthers lost when Ed Dickson jumped ship for Seattle was his blocking ability. Aside from a couple of decent games last year and a few highlight reel catches here and there, for the most part Dickson was a blocker while Olsen was the primary receiving threat.

Marcedes Lewis may not have the receiving skills he showed early in his career, but he is still an elite blocker. And the Panthers make use of good blockers at tight end, such as Ben Hartsock years ago. Lewis would slide right in to that role that Dickson left, and he may even perform better too.

It is also worth noting he caught five touchdowns in 2017, so his receiving ability is still there, just not what it used to be. He can still be a matchup problem in the redzone.

He will likely be cheap

While the rest of the market has been inflated in free agency, I don’t see teams clamoring to give a 33 year old tight end tons of money. Lewis is likely going to be signing his last contract in the league or pretty close to it. The Panthers can add a high character veteran with tons of experience (we all know they love that) for relatively cheap.

It takes pressure off a day two or three draft pick

The Panthers have a lot of needs, and could end up going for a pass rusher, receiver, or defensive back in the first round. However, they could look at a tight end with one of their day two or three picks, most likely a second or third rounder. They need to find somebody to take over Greg Olsen’s receiving role in the offense at some point, but it doesn’t have to be right away.

Generally speaking, tight ends do not come in and produce right away their rookie year. If the Panthers intend to look at drafting one, it will take a lot of pressure off that player to have two accomplished veterans on the roster. Lewis can handle many of the blocking duties that a second tight end would have to learn, so they would be able to roll him out as a receiver and bring him along slowly. The rookie would not have to take over all those duties right away, and by all accounts the Panthers are indeed looking at that path.

What do you think CSR?

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Should the Panthers add Marcedes Lewis?

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  • 76%
    Yes
    (718 votes)
  • 23%
    No
    (222 votes)
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