Marcedes Lewis is set to break the record for seasons played by a tight end, but it will not take place in Green Bay. The veteran is finalizing a deal with the Bears, reports Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson tweets that the agreement is for one year and $2MM.
Lewis made it clear in June that he had no intention or retiring and was in conversation with teams about a deal for the 2023 season. He will be able to do so in the NFC North, but in a new home for only the third time in his career. The 39-year-old spent the past five seasons with the Packers after 12 as a Jaguar.
As they begin the post-Aaron Rodgers era in Green Bay, however, attention is being turned to the young array of pass-catchers on the team. That includes rookies Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft at the TE spot. A new Packers deal for Lewis seemed unlikely once the trade sending Rodgers to the Jets was finalized, a move which has seen a number of familiar faces on offense join him in New York.
In Chicago, Lewis will compete for a role on a young offense looking to take a step forward in the passing game in particular compared to 2022. The trade involving the No. 1 pick saw wideout D.J. Moore head to the Windy City, putting him in position to operate as the team’s top pass-catcher. At the tight end position, the recently-extended Cole Kmet will lead the group, one which now has even more of a Green Bay flavor to it.
Robert Tonyan inked a Bears deal at the start of free agency after a lengthy Packers stint. He and Lewis will have plenty of familiarity as they compete for snaps in the new-look Bears offense. The latter had the second-least productive season of his career in 2022, recording only six catches (though two of them were touchdowns). His snap share (41%) remained consistent with that of the three previous campaigns, however, showing his continued effectiveness as a run blocker.
Much of the Bears’ success on offense will be determined by the growth of quarterback Justin Fields and the production from the renovated skill-position group around him. Lewis will spend the remainder of training camp looking to carve out a depth role as the newest member of that unit, and in doing so make NFL history for longevity at his position.