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March 14, 2014 @ 3:45 pm
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Bucs Revamp O-Line, Sign C Dietrich-Smith To 4-Year Deal

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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The Bucs continue to make a splash in free agency by overhauling the team's offensive line. On Friday, Tampa Bay added former Green Bay center Evan Dietrich-Smith with a four-year, $14.25-million deal. Does the acquisition of Dietrich-Smith puts Jeremy Zuttah's future with Tampa Bay in question?
The revamping of the Buccaneers' offensive line – and entire roster for that matter – continued on Friday, with Tampa Bay agreeing to terms with Green Bay Packers free agent center Even Dietrich-Smith. According to reports, it is a four-year deal worth $14.25 million, with $7.25 million guaranteed.

Dietrich-Smith started all 16 games for the Packers in 2013 at center, but has the flexibility to also play guard. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Packers out of Idaho State in 2009.

Dietrich spoke about the signing on Friday.

“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.”

Dietrich-Smith was involved in one of the more memorable NFL controversies in the last few years when on Thanksgiving Day of 2011 he was stomped by Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who was ejected from the game and later served a two-game suspension.

The Buccaneers added free agent left tackle Anthony Collins on Thursday, and shortly before announcing Collins at a press conference, released veteran offensive tackle Donald Penn, saving the team approximately $7 million in salary cap room. There has been some speculation that center Jeremy Zuttah, who is scheduled to earn $4.25 million in 2014 could become a cap casualty like Penn.

Zuttah’s agent, Noel Lamontagne, talked to PewterReport.com on Friday to discuss the matter.

“All of our conversations with the Buccaneers have been very positive, and all of Jeremy’s conversations with the staff have been positive,” Lamontagne said. “They are a great and professional staff, and are executing their plans for this team. Jeremy is taking care of his business preparing to be a Buccaneer. We both have a lot for respect for Lovie [Smith] and Jason [Licht] and what they are putting together.”

Tampa Bay has been extremely active the start of free agency on Tuesday, signing defensive end Michael Johnson, quarterback Josh McCown, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, cornerback Alterraun Verner, tight end Brandon Myers, Collins and now Dietrich-Smith.

The Buccaneers also reached agreements with some of their own, re-signing linebacker Jonathan Casillas, offensive lineman Jamon Meredith, wide receiver Eric Page and cornerbacks Danny Gorrer and Deveron Smith.

Tampa Bay was interested in Chicago cornerback Charles Tillman, who was in town this week, but Tillman decided to re-sign with the Bears for one year. The Bucs remain interested in Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
Last modified on Friday, 14 March 2014 16:26

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  • avatar

    It seems that our offensive line is going be tough and improve.Maybe the line will protect the QB and the offensive will take off-which means playoffs and beyond go bucs-G HICKS class of 64 HB Plant High School
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    They will keep Zuttah a while to see if anyone will trade for him. Absent a trade, Zuttah will have to take less money to be a back-up. keep in mind C Brian De La Puente/Saints can be had for Zuttah money. If Zuttah will not accept a pay cut, then he is Zwieback. I believe that's toast!
  • avatar

    This definitely is signaling a switch to zone blocking scheme, but not like Denver/Washington with smaller oline -- it's starting to resemble the Seahawks oline with big men who can move. I think we will actually see a successful screen game in ray jay this year
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    Was thinking the same thing about Tillman. Well said Moody.
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    This is awesome. BR listed Dietrich-Smith as a Top 5 Center. PFT as #8. We couldn't afford Alex Mack, but we get a LOT of the same advantages in Dietrich-Smith. He makes all the line calls, and is a Young QB's best friend. He doesn't have the power in the run block Mack does, but it is being speculated by many--with our choices along the OLine--the Bucs' could be going Zone Blocking not Power scheme. I wanted an upgraded line and I'm getting it on BOTH sides of the football. I had several worries about Lovie, and I still do, but I am VERY impressed as every FA to a man says Lovie's REP is a big part of their signing. I still think Zuttah's benefit is as the 6th active OLine guy on game day. That being said, his salary is a little high for that role. Last thing: As just a fan of Football, I'm glad to see Tillman back with the Bears. (Yes, the Bucs' have a real need for him) BUT He's been a great Bear & deserves 1 more year in Chicago as well as the fans deserve to scream his name & wear his jersey. I still look for #20 on the field sometimes. Certain players shouldn't change colors, and deserve a chance to retire with their family in their homes.
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    I've been on board for all of the players that have been let go, but Zuttah should be retained. He's never groused or complained where ever they played him and is pretty versatile. Might be paid to much but that's the breaks. I say keep him.
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    It's going to suck to have to draft an Og with the first overall pick; or, maybe the Bucs brass will say there's no guards worth drafting that high and pick one in the second round. I'm currently hoping for Frazier as bpa.
  • avatar

    More than likely he's a Zuttah replacement and Zuttah will have a chance at RG. Team is financially committed to Carl Nicks. He is getting healthy by all accounts.
  • avatar

    BucWild02, Bugger McFarland mentioned earlier this week that Nicks big toe is as big as a sweet potato. I don't think he is going to be able to play again.
  • avatar

    Zuttah could be Nicks or Joseph replacement?
  • avatar

    Just keeps getting better! GO BUCS!!! :}
  • avatar

    I'm glad we brought Dietrich-Smith in. I think he'll be an upgrade over Zuttah at C, but I wouldn't mind keeping Zuttah around also since both of these guys can play all 3 interior positions. As for letting Tillman slip through our fingers...we shoulda kept Revis! But like I said in the free agency CB article, if we didn't get both Tillman and Verner I hope we draft Dennard somehow (if Watkins and Robinson are off the board).
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