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Potential New York Giants Free Agent Target: Evan Dietrich-Smith, C

March 5th, 2014 at 6:30 AM
By Doug Rush

This week, a potential target the New York Giants could have pursued in free agency went off the board in Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack, who had the transition tag placed upon him by the team.

With the tag, which pays roughly around a shade over $10 million, it would allow the Browns to match any free agent offer made by teams and since the Giants are at around $19 million in salary cap space right now, committing more than half to one player wouldn't be the best way to spend their funds, even if it would have been for perhaps the best center in the league.

So with Mack now out of the picture and the status for current starting center David Baas uncertain due to having a high salary; a salary that the Giants want him to take a pay cut from and if not, could lead to a potential June 1 cut and with Jim Cordle set to become a free agent next week too, there's a very good chance that at the start of the 2014 season, Eli Manning will be taking snaps from someone new.

One potential candidate that the Giants could look at for the center spot is someone who has ties to the team's new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo is Evan Dietrich-Smith of the Green Bay Packers, who after Mack, was looked at as perhaps the second best center on the market next week.

The 6'3", 310 pound center would be an instant upgrade to the position and would also bring the kind of versatility that Kevin Boothe offered the Giants on the line because he's not only just a center, but can play the guard positions as well. However, the Giants are looking to address the guard position in free agency, so if Dietrich-Smith was a target the Giants wanted to acquire, they'd likely want him to only play center, but knowing another position on the line always adds value to a players stock when teams are looking for a reason to sign them at this time.

The 27-year-old former Packer is an extremely good pass blocker and would help the cause of keeping defenders off Manning, something the offensive line struggled to do in 2013 as they allowed 39 sacks on the Giants quarterback, the most in his 10 years as a pro. With a solid pass blocker like Dietrich-Smith keeping the middle open, it will allow Manning to see down the field more openly and make better decisions as opposed to the many forced decisions he made last year which at times, lead to turnovers.

When Baas came over to the team in 2011, he was supposed to take over as the young and hungry player and replace the departing Shaun O'Hara, but Baas has never lived up to the five-year deal that the Giants paid him and really hasn't filled the void left by O'Hara in 2010 and adding a solid, top of the line center like Dietrich-Smith could be the way to finally fill the void left and take the next step in improving one of the weakest areas from last season.

Photo credit: kevinbinversie via Flickr cc

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Tags: David Baas, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Football, Green Bay Packers, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Shaun O'Hara

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18 Responses to “Potential New York Giants Free Agent Target: Evan Dietrich-Smith, C”

  1.  jerseyrich says:

    I mentioned this guy a month ago as someone we should pursue, assuming Mack was going to be a no go (which he now is). Dietrich-Smith would be an excellent signing. Its becoming apparent that Reese is looking to sever ties with the vast majority of FA’s and even certain guys still under contract, as he is doing absolutely zero in terms of trying to re-sign anyone; for the most part, I don’t blame him. Signing this guy and getting rid of Baas would be a very logical step in improving this team.

  2.  Krow says:

    This makes a lot of sense.

  3.  JBeast3 says:

    I dont know much about this guy TBH but he gotta be better than what we had last season, so why not? I would love to draft one of Swainson, Westburg or Stork in round 3 or 4 to be the C of the future.

    Speaking of Baas, why is Snee and Baas still on this team for the salary they have? I mean cut them already or reduce their salary or something; we are almost in FA and will need cap space to sign players.

    •  jfunk says:

      Well Baas has salary implications. He still has dead money that makes cutting him a questionable move. If he’s cut, he’s a candidate for June 1st designation, which they can’t do yet.

      As far as Snee, it appears they intend to let him try to play again next year. I’m fine with it as long as it’s for chump change, but that remains to be seen.

      There’s no urgency right now because the Giants have plenty of cap room to operate. They don’t HAVE to make moves on these guys until actually need the cap space, which will probably be a while.

      •  Krow says:

        I’m still saying $nee loots us for over $4 mil. Might be a two year thing, but that’s my official prediction. And I also predict he’s a complete non-factor for 2014.

    •  jerseyrich says:

      We’ll save more on the cap overall if we make Baas a June 1 cut. As for Snee, we could cut him today or 3 months from now and the savings would be the same. Snee wont get cut outright….he’s going to take a pay cut and be Giant in 2014.

  4.  jfunk says:

    No mention of his run blocking, anybody know?

    •  jerseyrich says:

      I honestly have no idea. Pro football focus says he is a top 15 center in terms of run blocking. They also rank him very high for FA centers. Im not sure of their grading system, but Mack was 1st with a 17.8 and Dietrich-smith was next with a 14.2

      Again, I have no idea what these grades mean.

  5.  kujo says:

    Where’s BBG to complain about this new (excellent and informative) feature, discussing potential free agent targets for the New York Giants, penned by Doug Rush?

    Keep up the good work, man. You’re like giantthinker, except without the vaginal warts.

  6.  kujo says:

    We were never going to get a shot at Alex Mack. It just wasn’t going to happen.

    On the other hand, this guy is very good, not great, player who would be a cheaper and more responsible signing. He’s solid, which is to say the improvement he’d be over David Baas would be measured in scores of magnitude.

    As Krow said above, this would be a “smart” move. You don’t allocate bukoo cap bucks to signing one of the best centers in the league. You either make do with a solid one, or you draft someone who you think could develop into the best center in the league.

  7.  GOAT56 says:

    I admit he seems like a very good option. I wouldn’t complain if we added him. But sometimes you wonder if he’s so good why would a team with a franchise QB let him get away? He’s not a guard, he’s a center which is the second most important position on the OL. I’m not saying he’s not a good option but sometimes with free agents we act they are so great and don’t have flaws themselves.

    •  jerseyrich says:

      First off, from everything I have read, this guy is a better than average center. Secondly, I think that as Giants fans we are so sick and tired of Baas that we view any decent center as a godsend.

      •  GOAT56 says:

        I understand that sentiment but it doesn’t mean any replacement is a good one or even better Bass.

    •  kujo says:

      Agreed, but who is acting like that? Seems like people are saying he’d be a good replacement because he’s not “great” or “flawless,” and therefore not overly expensive.

      •  GOAT56 says:

        Agreed

        •  kujo says:

          So, this would be your admission of strawman logic, correct?

          •  GOAT56 says:

            No. This would my agreeing with a level head comment. My guess is that Smith is not better than Bass when healthy. But Bass is older and Smith would be better and more durable than the Bass of today. But is he better than the Bass of even 2011, I doubt it.

  8.  fanfor55years says:

    The position of center is critical, but there are many ways to skin the cat, and I’m not sure this guy would be the best answer. How much is he going to cost? What marginal cost would adding him create when that would include cutting Baas (and eating his dead money)? Would we be better off holding onto Baas for one more season while lining up his successor by: 1) drafting him; 2) signing him out of UDFA (many excellent centers, including O’Hara, are found this way); or readying Pugh to play center in 2015?

    I don’t think we’re competing for a championship in 2014. So I’d rather keep Baas and bring in a young successor at a low cost or draft a tackle and plan on Pugh playing center (or RT if the tackle we draft can push out Beatty in 2015) down the road.

    Assuming Reese WILL sign a quality guard in free agency and that player will be around for at least 4-5 years, I can see drafting a tackle high, knowing Pugh can play RT for years but can probably also transition to the interior, figuring that the drafted tackle will either push Beatty off the team in 2015 or force him to compete to keep his LT position and allow the new guy to anchor in at RT, having Pugh “ready” to move inside, and grabbing a center this May either in the draft (Rounds 3-6?) or via UDFA while sticking with Baas for 2014 and seeing if he can justify allowing him to play out his contract.

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