Dec 23, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith (62) during the game against the Tennessee Titans at Lambeau Field. The Packers won 55-7. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sign Center/Guard Evan Dietrich-Smith to Continue Rebuilding Offensive Line

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been proactive about improving their offensive line in 2014, and they continued to rebuild the aging, struggling line on Friday by announcing the signing of Evan Dietrich-Smith, formerly of the Green Bay Packers.

And like the other addition along the offensive line, Anthony Collins, the Buccaneers got a great deal on Dietrich-Smith according to initial reports of his contract details.

Dietrich-Smith was the 8th best center in the NFL in 2013 according to Pro Football Focus, and had consistent grades across the board. One important positive grade he received was as a screen blocker, as screens will figure to be a part of the “speed in space” scheme on offense under new offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford.

But Dietrich-Smith isn’t just a center, as he also has played guard in the past, and may do the same in Tampa Bay.

And with Jeremy Zuttah already on board, who can also play center or guard, the Bucs have a versatile duo who can move around based on injury or poor play to make sure the team has the best offensive line possible at all times.

This could be the last move the Buccaneers make along the offensive line, as a lineup of Collins/Nicks/Zuttah/Dietrich-Smith/Dotson is more than good enough to enter an NFL season. But the team may not yet be done, as they could release Jeremy Zuttah and continue to search for additional talent on the line.

Furthermore, this move doesn’t preclude the Buccaneers from selecting a center or guard in the upcoming NFL Draft, as having a young, cheap option to replace a potentially injured Carl Nicks or Jeremy Zuttah on an easily released contract would be a wise investment.

But no matter which position Evan Dietrich-Smith plays in Tampa, his contract is extremely affordable for a versatile and reliable interior offensive lineman, and it’s yet another success for the Buccaneers’ front office as they build a roster for a quick turnaround after a 4-12 failure in 2013.

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