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

It is hard to think of a stranger season than the one Lewis had in 2020.

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.

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. 

This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Brian Costello

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