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Dietrich-Smith signs restricted tender

Apr. 12, 2013
 

Itís often been alluded to this offseason that the Green Bay Packers will enter next season with Evan Dietrich-Smith as their starting center.

On Friday, the 6-foot-2, 308-pound center signed his one-year restricted tender with the team, guaranteeing heíll be back in the fold for 2013 and the start of the teamís offseason conditioning program on Monday.

Dietrich-Smith took over as the teamís starting center late last season, but the Packers still chose to use the lowest tender ($1.323 million) on him as a cost-cutting measure with extensions for Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews on the horizon.

Had another team signed Dietrich-Smith to an offer sheet the Packers were unwilling to match, it wouldíve robbed them of any compensation based on the fourth-year veteran entering the league as an undrafted free agent.

The Packers could still add another interior lineman with only Greg Van Roten sitting behind Dietrich-Smith on the depth chart, but at the very least have ensured themselves of an incumbent after the 6-foot-2, 308-pound center replaced Jeff Saturday in Week 16 of last season.

ďI think (Dietrich-Smith) starting out the year at center is going to be a big improvement for us,Ē said Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers during a recent interview with WHQG (102.9 FM) in Milwaukee. ďHeís going to do a great job for us. I like his future.Ē

The Packers have one remaining restricted offer extended to cornerback Sam Shields, whom they placed a second-round tender on valued at $2.023 million.

Other NFL teams have until April 19 to make offers to free agents, but it's recently been a rare occurrence to see players signed away during restricted free agency. This offseason, Pittsburgh wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has been the only player to sign an offer sheet with another team (New England).
-whodkiew@pressgazettemedia.com and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.

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