Ryan Poles has had a busy 24 hours.
After Poles hyped up the fan base with the signing of Yannick Ngakoue Thursday night, he followed that up with more of a lowkey signing but a good one, agreeing to terms with tight end Marcedes Lewis on a one-year deal.
Lewis is an excellent blocking tight end and exclusively plays the “Y” tight end or in-line tight end position. That’s been a position that Cole Kmet has manned for the Chicago Bears over the last few seasons.
Lewis is going to have a significant impact on two players on the offense and both will benefit greatly from Lewis. The first is the aforementioned Kmet and the second is rookie tackle Darnell Wright.
Starting with Wright, to what should be no one’s surprise, Wright has been up and down in training camp. He’s had some good reps but plenty of struggles as well. Most tackles come into the league and struggle as a rookie early in the season and there’s no reason to think that Wright won’t struggle as well. Wright is a more refined pass blocker than run blocker. Most rookie linemen tend to have the reverse so Wright will be an interesting case to watch. But bringing Lewis aboard will significantly help Wright.
Luke Getsy is going to be able to go strong-side right and put Lewis tight next to Wright and Lewis will significantly help Wright in the run game, much more than Kmet’s decent blocking would have been able to do. When the Bears want extra protection for Justin Fields, they can also keep Lewis in on those plays as well. Ryan Poles basically signed a sixth offensive linemen and a great one at that.
Beyond how Lewis will help Wright, he will give a big boost to Kmet as well. Lewis handling a good chunk of the Y duties is going to give Kmet flexibility to handle some of the Y duties and be the move tight end on two-tight end sets as well.
With Robert Tonyan in tow as a solid move tight end with strong pass catching abilities and Lewis as an inline tight end with strong blocking abilities and Kmet’s ability to do many different things at a decent level, the Bears are going to have significant flexibility with these three tight ends.
Think about how good the Bears “big” set is going to be with Kmet and Lewis, Equanimeous St-Brown, Khari Blasingame and whichever running back they want to put back there. They can go two-tight end sets with Kmet and Lewis or Kmet and Tonyan.
The bottom line for Kmet, while he will play plenty of Y still, but Lewis is going to be out there on the obvious running downs and Kmet is going to have less blocking responsibilities than he’s had in the past and allow him to focus on growing in the passing game with Fields.
Lewis will really open up the offense for Kmet and be an excellent security blanket for Wright. His presence will help bolster the offensive line while helping Kmet focus more on his role in the passing game. This was a sneaky good signing by Ryan Poles and the Bears.