JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars unceremoniously dumped the longest-tenured player on their roster Tuesday, and he wasn’t happy about it.
The Jaguars released veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis after 12 seasons to save $3.5 million in salary-cap space. The move came the same day Jacksonville parted ways with receiver Allen Hurns to save $7 million.
Both players are now free agents and can sign with any team that wants them.
Hurns’ future had been in doubt since Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole emerged as big-play receivers late last season. Hurns really became expendable when the Jaguars signed two receivers last week, bringing back Marqise Lee and adding Donte Moncrief in free agency.
Lewis thought his spot was safe, even after Jacksonville signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Niles Paul last week. The Jaguars picked up an option in Lewis’ contract last month.
Lewis told The Associated Press he felt “disrespected” by the timing of the move. It came a week after free agency began.
“I wish they would have done it sooner,” he said. “I think I deserved a little better than this.”
The 33-year-old Lewis, a first-round draft pick in 2006, played in 170 games with Jacksonville. His 375 receptions and 4,502 yards receiving both rank third in team history. His 33 receiving touchdowns are second-most in franchise history, trailing only Jimmy Smith (67).
He said he hopes to continue playing and would prefer to stay closer to his home and daughter in Los Angeles. Lewis has ties to former Jaguars coach and current Los Angeles Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, and his college position coach, Jon Embree, is tight ends coach for the San Francisco 49ers. Also, former Jaguars offensive coordinator Greg Olson now holds the same position with the Oakland Raiders.
“I’ve still got a few more years left in me,” Lewis said. “Any team that gets me will get a guy who does everything the right way on and off the field and with 100 percent effort. That’s all I did in Jacksonville. I always did what they asked me to do, which is why the way they let me go is annoying in that sense.”
Hurns would have been behind Lee and Moncrief on the depth chart, and Jacksonville felt his salary was too high for a backup who has missed 11 games the last two seasons.
Hurns has 189 receptions for 2,669 yards and 21 touchdowns in four years since signing with the Jaguars as an undrafted rookie from Miami. But he caught just 74 passes for 961 yards and five scores the last two years while dealing with a sports hernia in 2016 and a high ankle sprain in 2017.
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