By Tom Krasniqi
Another day, another free agent signing for the Buccaneers. On Day 4 of NFL free agency, the Bucs continue to add quality players at need positions.
On Friday, the team announced they have come to terms with center/guard Evan Dietrich Smith. Adam Caplan of ESPN reports it's a 4 year deal worth $14.25 million with $7.25 million guaranteed.
The 27-year-old Smith started all 16 games for the Green Bay Packers last season and has 25 starts in his career. He has the versatility to play center and guard, although it's more than likely that he will start at center.
The signing of Dietrich-Smith could spell trouble for Jeremy Zuttah, who has a $4.25 million salary. If the Bucs cut Zuttah, they would save the entire amount on their salary cap.
This is the 7th free agent signing the Bucs have made. According to reports, the Bucs have spent $140 million since the start of free agency. Keep it locked on 620am WDAE and 95.3FM for the latest Bucs news.
Official press release from the Buccaneers:
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today they have signed free agent center/guard Evan Dietrich-Smith.
“Evan is a tough, physical lineman who gives us added size and versatility at the center and guard positions,” said Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht. “He is a very intelligent player with a strong work ethic who is hitting his prime and provides more veteran leadership on our offensive line.”
Dietrich-Smith (6-2, 308) comes to Tampa Bay from the Green Bay Packers, where he became the only non-drafted rookie to make the Packers’ opening-day roster in 2009.
“I actually rooted for the Buccaneers as a kid after meeting John Lynch at a football camp and when he and Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, Simeon Rice and Mike Alstott and all those guys won the Super Bowl, I was pretty pumped,” said Dietrich-Smith. “Hopefully we can do that again. I saw the Buccaneers organization heading in the right direction and when I got to meet the coaching staff I was even more excited. I really connected with o-line coach George Warhop and offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford. Then meeting with Lovie Smith was the clincher. I always heard great things about him from other players around the league and I could sense all those things were true while talking to him. I am really excited to be joining the Buccaneers.”
Following a brief stint with the Seattle Seahawks at the beginning of the 2010 season, he re-joined Green Bay in Week 17 and spent the following three seasons (2011-13) with the team. He has started a combined 25 of 61 games at center and guard during his career, and has appeared in all 32 games over the past two seasons, one of only two Green Bay offensive linemen to do so over that period.
A native of Salinas, California, Dietrich-Smith played collegiately at Idaho State, where he was a four-year letterman who appeared at all five positions along the offensive line during his career and set a school record for the most starts ever by an offensive lineman (44).
Photo: Getty Images