Bucs To Sign Evan Dietrich-Smith

3:23pm: The deal includes $7.25MM in guaranteed money, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com, adding that several teams were in the mix right up until the end.

3:09pm: The Buccaneers continue to be busy during free agency’s first week, announcing (via Twitter) that they have agreed to terms on a deal with Evan Dietrich-Smith. The former Packers center will ink a four-year deal worth $14.25MM, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).

With Alex Mack tied up by the Browns’ transition tag, Dietrich-Smith represented one of the top unrestricted centers on the free agent market this offseason. After starting nine games during his first three seasons in Green Bay, the Idaho State alum started all 16 games for the Packers in 2013, so he doesn’t have a ton of NFL experience. Still, he’s still in his prime at 27 years old, and played very well in his first full season, according to Pro Football Focus’ metrics (subscription required). PFF ranked him eighth out of 35 qualified centers, and Dietrich-Smith graded particularly well as a pass blocker.

For the Buccaneers, Dietrich-Smith represents the second major offensive line signing of free agency, as the team also locked up left tackle Anthony Collins. The two new Bucs will help protect new signal-caller Josh McCown in 2014, though it’s not clear if the club has penciled in Dietrich-Smith at center quite yet — Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times says the Bucs believe he could start at either guard or center (Twitter link).

As for the Packers, they’ll be heading into 2014 with a new starting center for the second consecutive season. It’s not clear yet whether they’ll pursue an outside target and turn to another in-house option, such as J.C. Tretter.

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