Over the next several weeks free agents from the Green Bay Packers, especially those on offense, will be commonly connected to the New York Giants. We have seen that already with tight end Jermichael Finley. With the Giants having hired former Green Bay quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo as offensive coordinator, and having needs all across their offense, there is nothing surprising about that.
Giants' Free Agents Who Might Sign Early
Are there any Giants' free agents who might agree to return to the team before free agency begins on March 11?
One of those needs is on the offensive line, especially the interior positions of guard and center. With that in mind, could Packers' center Evan Dietrich-Smith be a free-agent target for the Giants?
Dietrich-Smith, 28 next season, is a four-year veteran who was a full-time starter for the first time in 2013. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers has made it known that he would like the Packers to bring Dietrich-Smith back:
"I’m in my middle years now and it would be fun to go on a run with a guy for five, six, seven years because that quarterback-center relationship is very important," Rodgers said in November. "I think you see that with Evan and I, the opportunity to play together for an extended period of time and that would be kind of a quarterback’s dream right there."
In his only season as a full-time starter Dietrich-Smith received a grade of +12.1 from Pro Football Focus, making him the eighth-ranked center in the league, per PFF's grading system.
Rotoworld ranks Dietrich-Smith No. 3 among centers expected to be available in free agency. Only Alex Mack of the Cleveland Browns and Brian De La Puente of the New Orleans Saints rank above him.
SB Nation's Acme Packing Company gave Dietrich-Smith's work in 2013 a B-. APC said Dietrich-Smith "put together a solid season."
APC notes that Dietrich-Smith surrendered three sacks in the first three games, but only two the rest of the season. APC notes that the former undrafted free agent has "over-achieved" and " appeared to be overmatched against some of the NFL's elite inside pass rushers." APC also notes that Dietrich-Smith "may never be" a top-tier NFL center, but still concludes that he "should be a priority" for the Packers in free agency.
The Giants seem likely to cut ties with current center David Baas, who has had an injury-plagued three seasons in New York and finished 2013 on IR. Options beyond Baas include former undrafted free agent Jim Cordle, who finished the season on IR himself, and Kevin Boothe, who is a free agent.
Dietrich-Smith might not be the best center on the market, but he is familiar with McAdoo's offense, is young enough to still have some upside and seems unlikely to carry a huge price tag.
Is he a player who interests you, Giants' fans?