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Giants Said to Be Front-Runners for Packers OL Evan Dietrich-Smith

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Giants Said to Be Front-Runners for Packers OL Evan Dietrich-Smith

According to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News:

In free agency, otherwise known as the NFL's silly season, it's sometimes difficult to tell what's real and what's a smokescreen from an agent trying to get top-dollar for his client.

That being said, Dietrich-Smith to the Giants makes sense for several reasons.

For one, the Giants appear to be letting go incumbent starter David Baas as part of a cost-cutting move, but they'll also be letting go of a player that's missed most of last season due to a variety of injuries.

Then there's the connection between former Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo, now the offensive coordinator of the Giants. McAdoo knows that Dietrich-Smith is a capable starter, and the player known as "EDS" knows that he'd be joining a team that will be running a familiar offense.

Dietrich-Smith cannot sign a contract with another team until the start of free agency officially opens at 3:00 p.m. CT on Tuesday, but he could re-sign with the Packers at any time. In essence, the Packers have less than 24 hours to make a last-ditch effort to keep their starting center, if they're so inclined.

Should Dietrich-Smith leave, the Packers would be entering a season with their fourth starting center in as many seasons. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has advocated for keeping Dietrich-Smith on his own radio show in the past.

Minus Dietrich-Smith, the competition for the starting center position would become an open competiton with second-year player J.C. Tretter perhaps being the front-runner.

The Packers would be taking a major risk in relying on an unproven player like Tretter to fill Dietrich-Smith's shoes. Last season, the Packers learned a lesson in hoping that Jerron McMillian would emerge as a starting safety, and Tretter has even less of a body of work than McMillian, haven't played so much as a single down in his rookie season and coming off a broken ankle that forced him onto the team's Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (32) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

HankScorpio's picture

Don Barclay is also in the mix for an inside spot. It's not like the Packers would be putting all their eggs in JC Tretter's basket.

qotsa1's picture

They tried Barclay at center and it did not go well if I remember correctly. Pretty risky to go into the season with Tretter as your number one option considering he has never played a snap at center in college or the NFL.

HankScorpio's picture

You remember Barclay at OC like I remember it anyways.

That's why I said "inside" not "at center". If Barclay flops at OC, Lang can slide over and Barclay can play RG. Barclay is far from an unknown at the NFL level. He's a battler and solid run blocker. I've seen plenty of opinions that he's better suited for the inside. I would call finding a spot for a guy with almost 2 years of starting experience the #1 option in the scenario of EDS out and Bulaga in.

HankScorpio's picture

I would add that if Tretter is a better option than finding a spot for a guy with almost 2 years of starting experience, it's not all that big of a risk.

Guisado's picture

Don't forget about Sherrod.

There's also hope that Sherrod returns fully healthy (and apparently he is) and retains the skills that made him a #1 (which is not certain) and could play RT (although he is a natural LT). If that happened, Bulaga could also go inside to RG and Lang could man the C while Barclay and Tretter backed them up.

PackerBacker's picture


ben's picture

If Sherrod has shown anything with the Pack it's that he can't play on an NFL level and is certainly not a NFL starter. While Bahktiari has very consistently performed, Sharrod never has, whether at LT, LG, or RT. Not before he sustained his big injury, and now even less likely after.

It is a very realistic that Sharrod doesn't make the cut this year.

travis's picture

Letting EDS go is a mistake. Can they do better, sure. Is he worth a ton of money, no. Was he reliable last season, yes.

The point in the article that this would be the fourth center is four years is what disturbs me the most. I can't image Rodgers enjoys a new center every year...

wharrington's picture

I agree with trvs. This team needs some stability (in all three phases). Keeping EDS is $$$ well spent IMO. Are there others on the team who MAY be able to fill the role and be serviceable? Sure. But EDS was a sure bet.

KEMDog's picture

EDS plays a solid Center position. He makes good calls and has a nasty disposition. I'd be more upset and I think greater harm to the team in letting him walk vs Raji

TommyG's picture

Are we really gonna have our roster raided by the Giants this year? Can the other 31 teams on the league please pursue Seattle or SanFran, please?

HankScorpio's picture

Donte Whitner is said to be looking at $6 mil in current bidding according to Brad Biggs. He didn't say if that was San Fran or elsewhere. If Whitner does leave, and Bowman starts the season on the PUP (as seems all but certain given the gruesome injury in the NFC CG), that is a couple of starters down for them.

Red Bryant has departed Seattle.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

It could be a vastly different team than last years.

Jordan's picture

Packers will be fine with Tretter. That's why TT drafted him. He'll probably take a G/C in the 6th round as backup. They'll have all summer and training camp/preseason to get it together.

Rodgers, Lang, and Sitton will all work with Tretter to get everything ironed out by week 1. No worries.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Pleeeeeease,no more O-Linemen fumble recovery drills! **fingers crossed**

Nick Perry's picture

The kid is smart and is supposed to have a real nasty streak. With that said it sucks to have this much turnover at the Center position. I keep reading where the LT spot is already Bakhtiari's so it will be interesting to see how it play out.

Evan's picture

Nagler likes De La Puente a lot better than EDS. I don't know. I just hate the 4 centers in 4 years thing - continuity is huge for the oline. It was nice to see EDS finally blossoming and all the coaching and development starting to pay off.

Jordan's picture

De La Puente is better than EDS. But I think that's missing the point. The packers need somebody like Tretter that can get down field and make some blocks for Lacy/Franklin or WR/TE screens. Or even make a block downfield for Cobb when he runs

De La Puente is slower than molasses and won't be getting down field to block anybody.

Tretter not only has what it takes to be a good pass blocking center, but also should be able to get down field and make a block. Something the Packers badly need from their center.


travis's picture

Check out JC Tretter's draft profile.

He certainly is an interesting prospect

If TT lets EDS walk then he should be pulling the trigger on some legitimate FA talent. Just a hope I guess.

HankScorpio's picture

Do you mean add someone on the OL? Or just add someone in general?

I agree on the latter and disagree on the former. Add some vet FA defense, for sure. Supplement the existing OL talent via the draft.

Mojo's picture

Problem is if we commit to EDS for three or four years, we may never find out what we have in Tretter.
Tretter is a little taller and more athletic from what I here. Both about the same weight.Tretter is a good knee bender according to Larry McCarren He already lost one year, and with most of the interior guys locked-up, he'll probably be a FA before he gets much time on the field. .

Don't overpay for EDS. If it's a couple mil/year - fine, else I'll take my chances with Tretter. ARod should adjust just fine.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I hope GB signs EDS. Probably will take $4 or 4.5 million per year or so. Not keen on the internal options of Tretter, or moving another O-lineman to center. The next few days will be interesting.

Evan's picture

Man, that seems like a lot of money for a guy with 1 year of experience. $4-4.5 would put him in some pretty good company. I was thinking more like the $2.5-3 range.

White92's picture

I really kind of think that EDS is just a guy. He looked horrible early in the season on some stretch plays and missed parts of 2 games(?) while hurt. I'd say, don't overpay and if the Giants want to overpay, go ahead.

PackerBacker's picture

I'm hoping that this is just agent-speak and that they are trying to get the Packers to bite. I'd really like to see EDS back.

I'm normally a staunch "In Ted We Trust" guy, but hoping that an unproven 2nd year guy has the chops and can step in is a major risk, especially at a position that handles the football on every play and is responsible for making adjustments.

I'm not saying that we can break the bank on him, and I always hope for stiff competition from Tretter, but this is a major risk.

Resigning EDS would have made the O-line a strength (when was the last time the Packers could say that?) They would have 3 lineman competing for Tackle (Bakhtiari, Bulaga, Sherrod), two starting guards and a very solid backup (Barclay), and a average center with a backup learning and able to take over soon.


Evan's picture

"I'm normally a staunch "In Ted We Trust" guy, but hoping that an unproven 2nd year guy has the chops and can step in is a major risk..."

There is nothing to suggest yet that that is actually Ted's thinking.

PackerBacker's picture

True, but there are probably two or three options if they let EDS go. 4 if you include picking up a free agent (but who are we kidding).
1) Tretter
2) Barclay (tried this, from reports, not great results)
3) Lang at C and Barclay in at G. (this has possibilities, but you have to shuffle half of the line ... again.

Do any of these three give you, arguably, a better offensive line than you had last year?

I'm just saying that I'd prefer to see EDS back.

Evan's picture

True - I'd prefer EDS back as well.

But recent history suggests TT is not going to go into the season with an unknown at center. He signed Jeff Saturday's corpse over handing the job to EDS 2 years ago.
If EDS leaves, I think it's likely he bring someone in - hopefully someone with something left in the tank, though. Who that might be, I don't know.

I will say, Lang at C with Barclay/Tretter at G intrigues me.

Jordan's picture

Just my opinion, but if TT uses a 4th rounder (122nd overall) on a G/C, he expects him to be able to immediately start. I think Thompson drafted Tretter knowing full well he wasn't going to be paying EDS. And I think Rodgers knew it too since he was chirping about resigning his buddy EDS a long time ago. He knew Tretter was drafted to replace EDS. It happens. Soon they'll be drafting hawk's future replacement. Everybody gets replaced sooner or later. They can't pay everybody. Tretter at least gives TT leverage.

It'll be interesting to see what happens since Rodgers went public in support of EDS.

zeke's picture

Agree with this. I think the plan last year was to have Tretter back up EDS for a year and then take over as the starter. The injury threw a wrench into it, but unless EDS showed he was more than above average (and he didn't) it makes little sense to commit years and big money to him. Alex Mack, on the other hand...

HankScorpio's picture

"I'm normally a staunch "In Ted We Trust" guy, but hoping that an unproven 2nd year guy has the chops and can step in is a major risk, especially at a position that handles the football on every play and is responsible for making adjustments."

That's pretty much what happened with the guy you advocate signing. Except EDS was a UDFA and cut from the Packers previously. I'm not sure I see the logic in thinking EDS was capable of making that move work while trying the same thing with Tretter is a "major risk".

Besides, Tretter is not the only option. It is a very dubious assumption to even say he is the best option. If EDS goes, the Packers have 5 guys with better than one season of NFL starting experience. Tretter is not one of them. There is nothing particularly revolutionary or risky about shuffling OL positions to get your 5 best on the field. In fact, most teams use that as the basis of putting their OL on the field.

Imma Fubared's picture

Maybe people have selected memories or just refuse to remember the not so good.
I clearly remember before Sherrod was hurt, he and Newhouse were being exchanged in and out the line up and the word was Mac was not happy with the play of either of them.
They could not learn the blocking schemes and neither was playing the position as desired.
Then Sherrod gets hurt, misses two years and people think ya Newhouse, sherrod their the guys.
I think if you have to rely on either of them for extended periods this team and Rogers should pack the season in.

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