JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Marcedes Lewis wants to finish his career in Jacksonville.
In fact, the Jaguars' tight end is so sure of that, he is hopeful his agent and general manager David Caldwell can get a deal worked out before free agency begins.
"You rarely see players play 10 years for one team, let alone finish their career [with the same team], so it’s something that I want to be able to do," Lewis said. "Hopefully we can get it done before all the other stuff even starts, if it’s possible.
"I know where I want to be."
On the surface, that seems strange considering Lewis had one of the worst statistical seasons of his career.
A drop in his numbers was expected after the team signed Julius Thomas in the offseason, but Lewis caught just 16 passes -- the fewest since he had 13 in his rookie season (2006) -- for 226 yards in 2015. He failed to catch a touchdown pass for only the second time in his career. However, he did play in all 16 games for the first time since 2012.
Lewis wants to be back because he believes in Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley, and wants to be a part of the franchise’s resurgence.
"This team is making huge strides," said Lewis, who has 331 catches for 4,015 yards and 27 touchdowns in 10 seasons with the Jaguars. "I’ve been here for the beginning of it, through the rough parts of it. It’ll be nice to be able to see us compete at a very high level and see some fruits from our labor."
The Jaguars apparently do want Lewis back, too. Bradley said Lewis played at a high level throughout the season at age 31 and was just as valuable in the locker room as he was on the field.
"Marcedes [was] pretty good now," Bradley said. "He might be one of our best pass blockers. Now, you look at his contributions and say how many catches? How many touchdowns? That might not show up, but when you watch it on tape [you see] his ability to block at the line of scrimmage and his ability to protect and some of the big plays [he made].
"I thought he did a tremendous job leading. He understood his role, and it switched up from game to game and what we asked him to do. I thought he always did what was best for the team and didn’t let his ego get too involved."
Lewis restructured the final year of his contract last offseason, dropping his salary-cap figure from $8.2 million (which would have been third-highest on the team) to $3.85 million. He earned $2.65 million this season and said he’s not looking to break the bank with a new deal, which he hopes would carry him to the end of his career.
"I would love to be back, and I hope that we can come to something that’s fair and works for both sides and I can be happy and retire here," said Lewis, who added that he thinks he can play three to four more years. "It’s my second home. First four years I was homesick a lot. I’m so close to my family. My mom is like my best friend. Before I moved out here they didn’t really travel or get on planes, and I kind of made them start getting on planes my second year. Now my mom is a diamond on Delta. It’s huge for us. The people treat me really nice out here. I’m big in the community. I do a lot out here. It would mean a lot to be here."