- Tom Carpenter, Fantasy and Insider
The Green Bay Packers let Evan Dietrich-Smith walk away as a free agent this offseason, as he inked a four-year, $14.25 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They haven't added a free agent to replace the center, but that may be because they expect 2013 fourth-round pick JC Tretter to step into the role.
"They want him to be their starting center in 2014," wrote Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "... Other veterans such as Don Barclay and T.J. Lang will get consideration, but Tretter should top the depth chart when off-season workouts begin April 22."
Tretter's rookie campaign was dashed after he tore ankle ligaments in June, but coach Mike McCarthy granted that Tretter would have been in the mix to start at center last season. He also likes the mental makeup of the former unanimous first-team All-Ivy Leaguer.
"Mentally, everything that he could possibly do to this standpoint based on the medical situation that he went through, you'd be very pleased with now," McCarthy said. "He hasn't played a snap in a game, and I get all the concerns and I understand that, but he's another young man that's in there early in the morning every day working out, voluntarily."
As for how the Packers will flesh out their tackles, ESPN Packers reporter Rob Demovsky opines:
"With David Bakhtiari set to stay at left tackle and Bryan Bulaga back on the right side, it leaves another former first-round pick, Derek Sherrod, as a possible swing tackle. That role had been occupied last season by Marshall Newhouse, who signed a free-agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals last week. Sherrod returned late last season from the broken leg he suffered in 2011. After missing all of the 2012 season, he was on the roster for the final seven games in 2013, but played only six snaps on offense."