The NY Jets have reportedly re-signed offensive guard Alex Lewis to a three-year, $18.6 million deal as the team made their second move of free agency.
As first reported by Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News, the Jets re-signed Lewis to a three-year, $18.6 million contract. This comes less than 24 hours after the team agreed to a deal with free-agent offensive tackle George Fant.
Of course, these aren’t the sweeping changes that Jets fans were likely hoping for along the offensive line. Dreams of landing players like Joe Thuney, Jack Conklin, or Graham Glasgow quickly faded when those players were snatched up on Monday.
The organization was forced to pivot to alternative options and one of those options was clearly signing Fant. However, the Lewis re-signing isn’t something that came about as an alternative plan.
This has been in the works for quite some time.
Lewis was acquired by the Jets back in early August in a trade that sent a seventh-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens. It was a worthy gamble at the time for a player who had shown promise when healthy in Baltimore.
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The Ravens originally selected Lewis in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft and he would go on to make eight starts at guard during his rookie season. Much like Fant, Lewis would miss the entire 2017 season with an injury, but come back strong in 2018.
The Nebraska product would start 10 games at left guard before a serious neck injury cut his season short. The Ravens made offseason adjustments and decided to move on leaving Lewis to fight for a roster spot with the Jets.
And after Kelechi Osemele‘s injury and later departure from the team, Lewis was left as the full-time starter at left guard.
The 27-year-old would go on to start 12 games playing admirably in place of Osemele. But despite a strong start to the season, Lewis’ play trailed off and he finished with a lowly 56.1 Pro Football Focus grade.
That ranks him 50th out of 63 graded guards and while his pass-blocking was around league-average, his run-blocking left much to be desired.
Nonetheless, Lewis fits the mold of what the Jets are searching for in their offensive linemen — cheap, versatile, and athletic. That’s what fits Adam Gase’s system and that’s what Joe Douglas is intent on targeting.
Will it be the best approach? Who knows.
But Lewis is expected to be the Week 1 starter at left guard. With only $6 million in guaranteed money, this is likely a deal the Jets could get out of quite easily so the long-term risk is low.
Alex Lewis is a solid, if unspectacular depth piece who is a valuable member of any roster. But is he good enough to be a viable starting option?
The numbers say no, but only time will tell.