Earlier Friday, the Jets announced starting left guard Alex Lewis would not play against the Raiders because of an organizational decision. His absence will now extend longer than two games.
Mysteriously inactive in Week 12, Lewis will now land on the Jets’ reserve/non-football illness list, according to ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini. He will be out at least three games. While that is not especially critical for a Jets team sitting 0-11, Lewis’ hiatus has been a rather unusual situation.
Adam Gase confirmed he and Lewis had a discussion that preceded the O-lineman being scratched for the team’s Dolphins rematch. The fifth-year blocker does appear to be dealing with a medical problem, with NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport indicating Lewis is seeking help for a non-football health issue (Twitter link). The Jets plan to pay Lewis while he resides on their NFI list. The Jets went to the NFL to determine the best way to move forward with Lewis, per The Athletic’s Connor Hughes (on Twitter).
This marks the latest odd development between the Jets and a recently acquired offensive lineman. An injury-related dustup between the team and 2019 trade acquisition Kelechi Osemele emerged midway through last season, leading to Osemele’s release and a grievance. Lewis’ issue is not on that level. The Jets have denied this is an injury-related situation, and Lewis did not indicate any hostility between he and the team, Cimini adds.
The Jets made a long-term commitment to Lewis, bringing him back on a three-year, $18.6MM deal. Though, the team could shed Lewis’ contract nearly free of charge after 2020. He is due a non-guaranteed $5.8MM base salary in 2021.
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