Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jags' Cuts Deep: Hurns, Lewis Gone; by Ryan O'Halloran

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jags' Cuts Deep: Hurns, Lewis Gone; by Ryan O'Halloran

Article excerpt

Byline: rohalloran@jacksonville.com

The Jaguars created $10.5 million of salary cap space Tuesday by releasing receiver Allen Hurns and tight end Marcedes Lewis.

The Hurns move, which saves $7 million, was not a surprise considering the Jaguars re-signed Marqise Lee, added Donte Moncrief and have high expectations for second-year players Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole.

But the Lewis move, which saved $3.5 million, was unexpected and semi-unceremonious considering he has been with the team for 12 years and had his 2018 contract option exercised last month. The Jaguars felt Lewis was expendable when they signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins last Thursday.

Hurns was released less than two years after signing a four-year, $40 million

contract ($20 million guaranteed). He missed a combined 11 games in 2016-17.

Lewis remained a dependable blocker and red zone target through his final game, which was the AFC championship game loss at New England.

A league source said neither player was offered a pay cut to remain on the roster and it's a safe assumption the roster moves aren't cap-crunch related.

In a phone interview with the Times-Union, Lewis said he was disappointed with how the Jaguars handled his release.

"I'm a little dejected at the fact that they couldn't let me go earlier [in the offseason] by not picking up my option," Lewis said. "I just think, for all that I've done -- and I've done everything they've asked me to do, even when it was uncomfortable and handled things like a pro, I deserved more than this.

"I didn't expect it to end this way."

Rarely is a veteran player's departure from a team clean; linebacker Paul Posluszny's retirement last week is the exception. Lewis was chafed because if the Jaguars not picked up his option, he could have entered free agency last week at the same time as the other players at his position.

Had the Jaguars not signed Seferian-Jenkins, Lewis would probably still be on the roster. But they pursued Seferian-Jenkins, who at 25 represents a youth movement compared to the 33-year old Lewis.

Lewis, a first-round pick in 2006, finishes his Jaguars career with 375 catches for 4,502 yards and 33 touchdowns in 170 regular season games. In five playoff games, he had 10 catches for 111 yards and one touchdown.

The prospect of spending his entire career in a Jaguars uniform was a source of attraction and pride for Lewis.

"I wanted to be a Jag for life, but obviously that won't happen," Lewis said. "I'm not sad or mad. I'm confused. But I understand they make the decisions. This is a very unforgiving game."

Lewis said he received a text message from Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell early Tuesday morning asking him to call. Lewis also had a missed call from his agent. …

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