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Alex Lewis Has To Earn Jets' Trust


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Alex Lewis has to earn Jets’ trust after rocky end to 2020

June 21, 2021 | 12:51pm | Updated

 
 

 

As the Jets get closer to training camp, I am examining the roster and giving you my top 25 players. Each weekday, we will reveal another person on the list, leading right into camp. I am not including rookies on this list because I do not feel it is possible to fully evaluate them before they play a game. 

No. 25: Alex Lewis

Last year’s ranking17

Position: OG

Age on Opening Day: 29

How acquired: Traded by the Ravens on Aug. 5, 2019 in exchange for a 2020 seventh-round pick.

Years left on contract: 1

2021 Salary Cap figure: $4.9 million

Jets guard Alex Lewis Corey Sipkin

Looking back at 2020

It is hard to think of a stranger season than the one Lewis had in 2020. When he was on the field, he performed decently. PFF ranked him 26th out of the 80 guards they graded. He gave up zero sacks and only 16 hurries, per PFF. He started the first nine of the first 10 games for the Jets at left guard. Then, he was mysteriously inactive against the Dolphins at the end of November. It turned out that Lewis had clashed with coaches and teammates and the team placed him on the non-football injury list as he sought medical help for a non-football issue. Sources said that Lewis had a very difficult time with all of the losing the Jets were doing last year and felt that some coaches and teammates did not care as much as he did. This led to a few clashes in practice. Lewis actually returned to practice in Week 17, but again had an issue with a teammate in practice, according to sources.

What do you think? Post a comment.

Outlook for 2021

It looked like Lewis might be a salary-cap casualty this winter, but the Jets chose instead to restructure his contract. They cut Lewis’ salary from $5.8 million to $3 million and took off the last year of his three-year contract, making him a free agent in 2022. 

 

When the Jets drafted Alijah Vera-Tucker in the first round, the left guard spot was filled, but Lewis is expected to compete at right guard with Greg Van Roten, Dan Feeney and Cameron Clark. If you are judging just on ability, Lewis is the best of that group. But can the Jets trust him after last year? Will he break down if the team struggles again? He has been curiously absent during the OTAs this spring, which can’t be helping his cause with the coaches. He is a favorite of general manager Joe Douglas, but that may not be enough for him to make the team. 

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I'm sure Lewis was angry with having his pay cut in half, and then AVT being drafted at HIS position, but I think he did himself a disservice by not coming to the OTA's 

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14 hours ago, Beerfish said:

Lewis wanted to break Gase in half so can he be all that bad?

Yes, when he's clashing with teammates there's a very big problem. He was as bad as advertised during those spats last season. He also might be the same problem child he was last season because now he's gotten away with it once. Who says he won't try trying running his mouth to LaFleur the very second he thinks things are going bad? I liken his behavior to a mutiny aboard a boat. It's a VERY serious problem if a player suddenly decided to become insubordinate to Robert Saleh....

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35 minutes ago, NYJ1 said:

Yes, when he's clashing with teammates there's a very big problem. He was as bad as advertised during those spats last season. He also might be the same problem child he was last season because now he's gotten away with it once. Who says he won't try trying running his mouth to LaFleur the very second he thinks things are going bad? I liken his behavior to a mutiny aboard a boat. It's a VERY serious problem if a player suddenly decided to become insubordinate to Robert Saleh....

Good point , but he's also lost money restructuring his contract , which may make him hungry enough to ball out for the new regime , in hopes for a bigger contract next season.  Could be the new coaching staff has a different effect on players to give it their all .

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1 hour ago, NYJ1 said:

Yes, when he's clashing with teammates there's a very big problem. He was as bad as advertised during those spats last season. He also might be the same problem child he was last season because now he's gotten away with it once. Who says he won't try trying running his mouth to LaFleur the very second he thinks things are going bad? I liken his behavior to a mutiny aboard a boat. It's a VERY serious problem if a player suddenly decided to become insubordinate to Robert Saleh....

Can’t imagine that this would even be an option. It’ll be buy in or get out. Lewis may not be happy about his pay cut, but accepting it demonstrates that he understands which way the wind is blowing. He’s just not good enough to play prima donna. 

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19 minutes ago, slats said:

Can’t imagine that this would even be an option. It’ll be buy in or get out. Lewis may not be happy about his pay cut, but accepting it demonstrates that he understands which way the wind is blowing. He’s just not good enough to play prima donna. 

Which brings up another very important point. I really don't think he's going to make the roster? If the Jets sign Morgan Moses, I can't see him being anything more than depth. Remember the Jets are high on Cam Clarke. He should be finally healthy and ready to compete. His only shot at cracking the lineup is at RG. Meanwhile, there's GVR, Cam Clarke, Dan Feeney, and even potentially George Fant looking to secure that job. ALL of those guys will run through fire for the HC and they've never been accused of being insubordinate.

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Really interesting that this is why the guy was on the shelf last year.  No guarantees for 2021 and they still kept him around?  Gase had to know that he was on the way out.  Generally I think he has starter level talent, but gets hurt all the time.  That is why the Ravens moved on.  

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It's interesting that Lewis was calling teamates out, and starting conflicts in practice.  

The Guard position was the worst position on a very bad team last year..   He was a major part of the problem.  

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we ranted and raved about gase and the coaching staff for the entirely of last season - if it was up to us here at jetnation gase would have been drawn and quartered - very very little support from fan base - i agree that a paid employee ( player) needs to deal with the situation differently but do we really want to vilify this guy for having had enough of gase and his complete and utter incompetencies - i don’t think he should be more than a backup but i say give him the chance to win a spot on the roster and chalk up last year to gase induced hysteria


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Don't see how the Jets can keep Van Rotten, Feeney, Lewis & Clark on the roster (especially if they sign Moses).

Lewis might be the best of that bunch. But the fact that he's injury prone and a bit of a head case, makes me think that he might be the odd man out.

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5 hours ago, slats said:

Can’t imagine that this would even be an option. It’ll be buy in or get out. Lewis may not be happy about his pay cut, but accepting it demonstrates that he understands which way the wind is blowing. He’s just not good enough to play prima donna. 

It was, "Buy-in or get out" when Joe Douglas originally signed Lewis two seasons ago. You act like this "Buy-in or get out" ultimatum is the first time Lewis had ever been faced with such a decision? That's simply not true and as a professional he should've never even considered following through with such a subversive act. Make no mistake, just because our HC was incompetent, it does NOT make it OK for Lewis to follow through with such POISONOUS behavior....

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6 hours ago, flgreen said:

It's interesting that Lewis was calling teamates out, and starting conflicts in practice.  

The Guard position was the worst position on a very bad team last year..   He was a major part of the problem.  

Possibly, but not according to PFF which ranked him 26th out of 80 qualifying OGs.

I've always thought of Lewis as a decent starter.  I wouldn't say good but in 2019 and 2020, he wasn't at the top of the list of things that needed to be upgraded on the OLine.  But at this point, with guys like Becton and AVT now on the roster, with Fant looking pretty good at RT, and McGovern finishing last year fairly well, I think Lewis is exactly where he should be....competing for a job at the most concerning OLine spot.

We've got a big bag of Meh at OG opposite AVT.  It's a group of JAGs like Feeney and GVR along with some questionable, development young guys like Cameron Clark.  If Lewis has his head screwed on straight there's no reason he shouldn't win the job this year.

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6 minutes ago, jetstream23 said:

Possibly, but not according to PFF which ranked him 26th out of 80 qualifying OGs.

I've always thought of Lewis as a decent starter.  I wouldn't say good but in 2019 and 2020, he wasn't at the top of the list of things that needed to be upgraded on the OLine.  But at this point, with guys like Becton and AVT now on the roster, with Fant looking pretty good at RT, and McGovern finishing last year fairly well, I think Lewis is exactly where he should be....competing for a job at the most concerning OLine spot.

We've got a big bag of Meh at OG opposite AVT.  It's a group of JAGs like Feeney and GVR along with some questionable, development young guys like Cameron Clark.  If Lewis has his head screwed on straight there's no reason he shouldn't win the job this year.

I agree with you that Lewis, in the past, has been an OK starter.  I don't agree with PFF that Lewis was one of the top G's in the league last year.

The interior of the Jets OL was chaotic last season.  The T's seemed to come together as the season went on, but the interior was very bad until Elflein took over at LG against the Fish in late Nov.  The difference in the line after Lewis was benched, and Elflein started was noticeable.

I have no idea what was going on, but I really don't think that Lewis is doing himself any favors this season by not showing up for OTA's.  With a new coaching staff it seems a bit childish.

As you mentioned, Lewis is competing with Clark, who Douglas drafted, Feeney, who is also a JAG, but has somehow started 57 straight games at 3 OL spots.  GVR, who is also an OK player, and the union rep.  GVR went against the union and told the young guys it would be in their best interest to attend OTA's. CS will never admit it, but that matters. 

IMO, Lewis is digging himself a deep hole.  If he doesn't win the job hands down, he could find himself in trouble on the final cut.  Not a good spot to be.

Just my opinion.  

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8 hours ago, RichardTodd27 said:

Don't see how the Jets can keep Van Rotten, Feeney, Lewis & Clark on the roster (especially if they sign Moses).

Lewis might be the best of that bunch. But the fact that he's injury prone and a bit of a head case, makes me think that he might be the odd man out.

6 hours ago, flgreen said:

IMO, Lewis is digging himself a deep hole.  If he doesn't win the job hands down, he could find himself in trouble on the final cut.  Not a good spot to be.

Just my opinion.  

 

Eh.  The whole reason they restructured Alex Lewis (with a paycut) was to have him impact the cap less but while giving him and his agent job security this season. 

I don't see Douglas cutting him, and thus suffering a $2.7M dead cap hit, unless he really does or says something to force their hand (and why do that when no one else is going to want him all that much on the open market?).  Sucking at football won't really be enough.  

To put that $2.7M figure in perspective, only 13 players on the team would deliver a bigger dead cap hit than Lewis, if cut.  That list, in order of biggest hit:  Carl Lawson, Corey Davis, CJ Mosley, Quinnen Williams, Marcus Maye, Mekhi Becton, Connor McGovern, Jamison Crowder, Jarrad Davis, George Fant, Keelan Cole, Sheldon Rankins, Dan Feeney.  

Finances make him a virtual lock to make the team.  One of the safer players on the roster, really.

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17 hours ago, #27TheDominator said:

Really interesting that this is why the guy was on the shelf last year.  No guarantees for 2021 and they still kept him around?  Gase had to know that he was on the way out.  Generally I think he has starter level talent, but gets hurt all the time.  That is why the Ravens moved on.  

 

18 hours ago, slats said:

Can’t imagine that this would even be an option. It’ll be buy in or get out. Lewis may not be happy about his pay cut, but accepting it demonstrates that he understands which way the wind is blowing. He’s just not good enough to play prima donna. 

Could be they don't have any interest in keeping him this year, and the pay cut agreement was just to create some potential trade value.

They didn't need him at all, and don't/won't unless they suddenly get 2-3 injuries, with GVR and Feeney and Clark already aboard, and with the team at least interested in Moses (who'd either move himself or free up Fant to move to guard). 

I don't know what trade value he has, if any, seeing how many OLmen got taken this year. But he's cheap and a team trading for him could recoup that pick as a comp pick a year later after Douglas agreed to chop a year off his contract in exchange for the pay cut.

Even if he could only get a conditional 7th round pick, that'd still beat cutting him outright. 

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56 minutes ago, Sperm Edwards said:

 

Could be they don't have any interest in keeping him this year, and the pay cut agreement was just to create some potential trade value.

They didn't need him at all, and don't/won't unless they suddenly get 2-3 injuries, with GVR and Feeney and Clark already aboard, and with the team at least interested in Moses (who'd either move himself or free up Fant to move to guard). 

I don't know what trade value he has, if any, seeing how many OLmen got taken this year. But he's cheap and a team trading for him could recoup that pick as a comp pick a year later after Douglas agreed to chop a year off his contract in exchange for the pay cut.

Even if he could only get a conditional 7th round pick, that'd still beat cutting him outright. 


A $2.7M dead cap hit if cut, $1.7M if traded.  Better, but still not exactly ideal.  I’d much rather avoid the dead cap hit than take the 7th rounder.

I think he goes nowhere for the full season, then is gone as a UFA.

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I believe that the last guard spot will come down to GVR and Lewis  since they are high on Clarke and Feeney can play center as well. Don’t think money will factor into any decisions as both cap hits will be relatively cheap. Decision will be on who plays better not cap hit. 

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5 hours ago, Sperm Edwards said:

 

Could be they don't have any interest in keeping him this year, and the pay cut agreement was just to create some potential trade value.

They didn't need him at all, and don't/won't unless they suddenly get 2-3 injuries, with GVR and Feeney and Clark already aboard, and with the team at least interested in Moses (who'd either move himself or free up Fant to move to guard). 

I don't know what trade value he has, if any, seeing how many OLmen got taken this year. But he's cheap and a team trading for him could recoup that pick as a comp pick a year later after Douglas agreed to chop a year off his contract in exchange for the pay cut.

Even if he could only get a conditional 7th round pick, that'd still beat cutting him outright. 

I think he has been a demonstrably better player than Feeney and GVR, when healthy.  I am not that concerned with keeping him or not this year.  I will leave that up to the new staff, but the fact that I don't think he had dead money for 2021 and they didn't dump him when he went Incognito is strange. 

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47 minutes ago, #27TheDominator said:

I think he has been a demonstrably better player than Feeney and GVR, when healthy.  I am not that concerned with keeping him or not this year.  I will leave that up to the new staff, but the fact that I don't think he had dead money for 2021 and they didn't dump him when he went Incognito is strange. 

I think it's just that there was no reason to dump him. Yeah there was that personal whatever, but everyone knew Gase was both getting fired and that he had personality issues of his own. Nothing gained by cutting him then, really. Same as now; in addition to AVT they don't need Clark plus three guards all making north of $3MM. Let them duke it out, and the leftover is getting cut, but I'm sure JD will see if he can get something - anything at all - before doing so. 

If not for the renegotiation then maybe there's some concern about the highest-paid player getting a leg up this summer (since the $ disparity isn't that great), but further, he has less than no trade value not only at his old rate, but also with another year left, removing the ability for his new team to recoup whatever late pick they surrendered in the form of a comp pick a year later.

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True.  I thought they might have hung on to him all of last season to punish him.  It would prevent him with joining up elsewhere and I think he was already getting paid for the year. I think the general trajectory has been odd. 

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4 hours ago, #27TheDominator said:

True.  I thought they might have hung on to him all of last season to punish him.  It would prevent him with joining up elsewhere and I think he was already getting paid for the year. I think the general trajectory has been odd. 

I think it was you who pointed out last season that the Jets keeping him on ice but on the roster was clear, early evidence that Gase was getting canned. Good call.

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