One of the biggest concerns for the Bucs is on the offensive line, and especially on the interior. Well, it appears the Bucs are acting to allay some of those concerns by re-signing utility offensive lineman Jamon Meredith, and bringing in ex-Packer OL Evan-Dietrich Smith for a visit.
Meredith and Dietrich-Smith both entered the NFL as members of the Green Bay Packers in 2009, though Meredith wouldn't make it through camp. Initially a tackle, Mereidth joined the Bucs in 2012 after stints with the Bills, Lions, Giants and Steelers. While at Tampa Bay, he was cross-trained at guard, and took over the starting right guard spot from Ted Larsen as the team scrambled to replace Davin Joseph, who tore his patellar tendon in the preseason.
He would end up starting 12 games in 2012, but lost his starting spot to Joseph for 2013. Meredith was one of five players to start at left guard for the Bucs in 2013, starting a total of 8 games at the spot, though he was eventually benched for Ted Larsen in the closing weeks of the season. An up-and-down player at best, his ability to play inside and outside, combined with the Bucs' poor depth along the OL, goes some way to explaining this signing. According to the Bucs' own Scott Smith, the contract is for two years.
Meanwhile, ProFootballTalk are reporting that Dietrich-Smith will be visiting the Bucs. As mentioned above, he entered the league as a Packer alongside Meredith, but remained with Green Bay throughout 2009. He was released at the close of the 2010 training camp, and subsequently signed with the Seahawks, though he lasted with the team exactly one month. He re-signed with the Packers later that season, just in time to receive a ring from the team's Super Bowl 45 victory.
Dietrich-Smith got his first start in 2011, and started at both guard spots for various games in 2011 and 2012, before taking over as center from a past-it Jeff Saturday at the close of the 2012 season. Last year, he started every game as the Packers' center. Dietrich-Smith is perhaps most famous as the lineman who found his genitalia introduced to Ndamukong Suh's cleats on national television on Thanksgiving back in 2011.
The Dietrich-Smith visit is obviously intriguing as the Bucs signed Jeremy Zuttah to a decent contract in 2012. Both Dietrich-Smith and Zuttah have the ability to start at either of the three interior spots, so perhaps the idea is that the team will certainly have two of the three spots covered between these two linemen, and they'll find a combination that works; Zuttah's contract is certainly not onerous enough, nor his play lacking enough, to warrant being released.
More news, as always, as we get it.