The Tampa Bay Buccaneers free agent frenzy continues today, as the team announced that they have signed Green Bay Packers free agent center Evan Dietrich-Smith to an undisclosed deal. It’s a bit surprising to see that the Buccaneers have added EDS due to their investment in current starting center Jeremy Zuttah, and I wonder if the Bucs will move Zuttah to guard or simply release him after deciding to sign one of the top interior offensive linemen on the market. The Buccaneers already signed Anthony Collins and released veterans Davin Joseph and Donald Penn in cost-cutting moves (Collins essentially replaced Penn at left tackle), and their offensive line overhaul continues.
Dietrich-Smith is a clear upgrade over Zuttah, who clearly wasn’t viewed favorably by the new regime led by Jason Licht and Lovie Smith. Although I view New Orleans Saints free agent center Brian De La Puente as the best available at the position, Dietrich-Smith is a quality starter in his own right and is ranked No. 1 at the center position among FAs by some.
It looks like Zuttah’s time with the Buccaneers is up, as the 27-year-old is set to make $4.5 million next season and $4.25 million in 2015. It will be interesting to see the terms of Dietrich-Smith’s deal, as they have not been disclosed. The center-needy New York Giants also showed interest in EDS, who had a link to offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, and it looks like they could go after De La Puente as David Baas’s (cap casualty) replacement.
Update: The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the deal is a four-year pact worth $14.25 million. Less than Zuttah? Nicely done, Licht.