Green Bay Packers: Evan Dietrich-Smith

GREEN BAY, Wis. – If there's a common denominator among the Green Bay Packers' free agents that remain unsigned, it's that none played more than 50 percent of the team's snaps last season.

That's in contrast to the six unrestricted free agents the team has re-signed in the last month. Of the six, four were on the field more than half the time last season.

Six of the Packers' unrestricted free agents remain on the market.

In order of playing time from last season, they are:
  • Defensive tackle Ryan Pickett (535 snaps, 48.0 percent of the defensive plays)
  • Quarterback Matt Flynn (324, 27.3 percent of the offensive plays)
  • Defensive tackle Johnny Jolly (287, 25.7 percent)
  • Tight end Jermichael Finley (252, 21.3 percent)
  • Quarterback Seneca Wallace (58, 5.0 percent)
  • Linebacker Robert Francois (12, 1.1 percent)

Pickett was the only one to appear in every game but he will turn 35 just a month into this coming season, so his time could be over. Flynn is expected to re-sign, and Jolly could too if he recovers from his neck surgery as expected. Francois is still recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon. Finley still has not received medical clearance following his neck surgery, and Wallace will not be re-signed.

Of their own free agents that they re-signed, only two were on the field less than half of the time. They were:
  • Fullback John Kuhn (333 snaps, 28.1 percent of the offensive plays)
  • Running back James Starks (235, 19.8 percent)

Four played well over half the plays. They were:
Also, of the five former Packers' players who signed with other teams, three played more than half the snaps last season.

They were:
The other two were:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- With the bulk of the free-agent work done, it's a good time to recheck the Green Bay Packers' depth chart leading up to the May 8-10 NFL draft.

First up, the offense:

Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers, Scott Tolzien.

Analysis: Coach Mike McCarthy said at last week's NFL owners meetings that he not only hopes to bring back Matt Flynn but also would to take a fourth, developmental quarterback into training camp.

[+] EnlargeEddie Lacy
Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY SportsLed by Eddie Lacy, the running back position is expected to be a key strength for the Packers in 2014.
Running back: Eddie Lacy, James Starks, Johnathan Franklin, DuJuan Harris, Michael Hill, Orwin Smith, Ina Liaina (fullback).

Analysis: This could be the deepest backfield McCarthy has had in his nine seasons as head coach, and they still may re-sign fullback John Kuhn. Starks excelled in a backup role last season behind Lacy, while Franklin showed some signs during a 100-yard game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 3 before a neck injury ended his rookie season. Harris looks to bounce back after missing all of 2013 because of a knee injury. Hill spent time with both the Packers and Buccaneers last season. Smith was on the practice squad last year. Liaina was signed off the street early in the offseason.

Receiver: Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, Jarrett Boykin, Myles White, Chris Harper, Kevin Dorsey, Sederrick Cunningham, Alex Gillett.

Analysis: Boykin is expected to take over as the No. 3 for James Jones, who signed with the Oakland Raiders as a free agent. White and Harper both spent time on the roster last season. White could be Cobb's backup as a slot receiver. Harper is an intriguing prospect. He was a fourth-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks last year and has good size. Dorsey, a seventh-round pick last season, and Cunningham spent all of 2013 on injured reserve. Gillett spent last season on the practice squad.

Tight ends: Andrew Quarless, Brandon Bostick, Ryan Taylor, Jake Stoneburner, Raymond Webber.

Analysis: There's not an established big-time playmaker to replace Jermichael Finley, who remains on the free-agent market but has not been medically cleared following last season's neck injury. Quarless is the starter until someone beats him out. Bostick, a former small-college receiver, is raw but has some playmaking ability. Taylor and Stoneburner played mostly on special teams, while Webber was signed off the street early in the offseason.

Center: JC Tretter, Garth Gerhart, Don Barclay.

Analysis: Not one of those players has ever taken a regular-season snap at center. Only Barclay has played in the regular season, and that has been almost exclusively at tackle. But after losing Evan Dietrich-Smith to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency, the Packers will see if Barclay can transition to center. There are high hopes for Tretter, a former college tackle who did not play last season as a rookie after sustaining an ankle injury. Gerhart only has practice squad experience.

Guard: Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, Barclay, Lane Taylor, Andrew Tiller.

Analysis: The starters are set with Sitton on the left side and Lang on the right. Barclay also could be in the mix for a backup job. Taylor made the team as an undrafted free agent last season but played mostly on special teams. Tiller was on the practice squad last season.

Tackle: David Bakhtiari, Bryan Bulaga, Derek Sherrod, Barclay, Aaron Adams, Jeremy Vujnovich.

Analysis: Bakhtiari, who started every game at left tackle last season as a rookie, will stay in his spot even with the return of Bulaga from the knee injury that kept him out all of last season. Bulaga will go back to the right side. Sherrod returned late last season after missing all of 2012 following the broken leg he sustained on Dec. 18, 2011. He likely will compete with Bakhtiari on the left side. Barclay started all but two games last season at right tackle but the Packers want to upgrade. Adams was on the practice squad last season, while Vujnovich was signed as a street free agent early in the offseason.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers began this offseason with 17 players scheduled for unrestricted free agency.

They have re-signed five of them: outside linebacker/defensive end Mike Neal, tight end Andrew Quarless, defensive tackle B.J. Raji, cornerback Sam Shields and running back James Starks.

Four of them signed with other teams: center Evan Dietrich-Smith (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), receiver James Jones (Oakland Raiders), tackle Marshall Newhouse (Cincinnati Bengals) and defensive end C.J. Wilson (Raiders).

That leaves eight still on the market. Here's an update on where things stand the Packers’ remaining free agents:

Kahlil Bell, RB: With Starks back on a two-year, $3.165 million deal, it’s unlikely Bell, a late-season pickup last year, will be re-signed. The Packers already have five halfbacks with NFL experience on the roster -- Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin, DuJuan Harris, Michael Hill and Starks -- plus practice-squad member Orwin Smith.

Jermichael Finley, TE: There's no guarantee Finley will receive medical clearance to resume his career following last season's neck injury. Finley reportedly failed a physical during a free-agent visit to the Seattle Seahawks, and the Packers say they are still monitoring his condition. At this point, Finley's career remains on hold.

Matt Flynn, QB: It's all but a lock that the player who kept last season alive while Aaron Rodgers was sidelined with his broken collarbone will return. Coach Mike McCarthy wants Flynn back and would like to keep three quarterbacks on the roster this season. Expect Flynn to be re-signed soon.

Robert Francois, LB: The special-teams player is coming off a torn Achilles tendon. If healed, he could be re-signed for a minimum contract later in free agency.

Johnny Jolly, DT: Like Finley, Jolly underwent neck fusion surgery. But Jolly's injury was not as severe as Finley’s and the fusion took place lower in his neck, which makes it safer for him to resume his career. McCarthy said he liked how Jolly played last season, so expect the Packers to bring back Jolly at some point.

John Kuhn, FB: The Packers remain in talks with the fan favorite who completed a three-year, $7 million contract last season. Kuhn is a valuable special teams player and has been their best pass protector out of the backfield the past several seasons. But it's not a given he will return. And if he does, it likely will be for less money than he received three years ago.

Ryan Pickett, DT: The plan to move Raji back to nose tackle might make Pickett expendable. Or perhaps his age (34) has already done that. McCarthy was non-committal when asked about Pickett's status last week at the NFL annual meetings.

Seneca Wallace, QB: McCarthy would like to bring four quarterbacks to training camp, but don't expect the 33-year-old Wallace to be one of them. He couldn't stay healthy when the Packers needed him after Rodgers' injury. Instead, they would like to add another young, developmental prospect.
Each week, I will ask for questions via Twitter with the hashtag #PackersMail and then will deliver the answers over the weekend.
 
The ESPN Insiders NFL team of veteran reporter Mike Sando along with Bill Polian, Louis Riddick, Matt Williamson and Field Yates combined to grade all 32 teams in free agencyInsider so far.

Peppers
When it came to the Green Bay Packers, apparently the big-splash signing of defensive end Julius Peppers was only enough to warrant a grade of slightly better than average. The Packers also re-signed some of their own key free agents, including cornerback Sam Shields, defensive tackle B.J. Raji and defensive end/outside linebacker Mike Neal.

In giving the Packers a C-plus, Sando wrote: "Keeping Shields, Raji and Neal from leaving was important, but the big question is whether Peppers can make the Packers better on defense."

Wrote Riddick, a former NFL scout: "Peppers has that connection with [Packers defensive line coach Mike] Trgovac and has wanted to play in a 3-4. They got good value. Playing with Clay Matthews is a good fit there. I think Ted Thompson is good at making those targeted free-agent gambles. Everything else they do will be through the draft."

Among the Packers' key losses were center Evan Dietrich-Smith (who signed Tampa Bay) and receiver James Jones (who signed with Oakland).

Polian, the former Indianapolis Colts general manager, said that he thought Dietrich-Smith would be missed. Polian also wasn't convinced that Peppers would be worth the money, but he liked some of the Packers' re-signings. He thought most teams would miss Jones, too, but the Packers might be fine.

"They produce receivers on an assembly line there," Polian said.
The day after the Green Bay Packers' season ended, Bryan Bulaga was asked whether it would be much of an adjustment if he had to move back to right tackle in 2014.

Bulaga chuckled and said: "I didn't even get a full year at left tackle, more like two months."

In terms of actual live practice, it was more like two weeks.

Bulaga
Bulaga injured his knee during the annual Family Night scrimmage on Aug. 3 and missed the entire 2013 season. Combine that with the fact that rookie David Bakhtiari was more than just OK in Bulaga's place at left tackle last season, and it made sense that Bulaga would move back to the right side, where he started from 2010-2012.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy on Tuesday confirmed that will be his plan heading into this season. He told WBAY-TV as much at the NFL annual meetings.

McCarthy said he informed Bulaga recently of his decision. Bulaga, a former first-round draft pick, is entering the final year of his rookie contract.

A year ago, McCarthy moved Bulaga to left tackle as part of a massive offensive line overhaul that also included guards T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton switching sides.

"I think that's part of my game that I like; I feel like I can go back and forth," Bulaga said in January.

"I felt pretty comfortable [at left tackle] at the time I got hurt in the Family Night. I felt pretty good about where I was at."

With Bakhtiari set to stay at left tackle and 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.

The Packers also have Don Barclay, who started all but two games at right tackle last season. Barclay could end up moving inside to compete with JC Tretter for the starting center job. The Packers lost last season's starter, Evan Dietrich-Smith, who signed a free-agent deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The moderately-priced contracts signed by former Green Bay Packers' players Evan Dietrich-Smith and James Jones indicate that their old team had little or no interest in re-signing them.

Neither Dietrich-Smith nor Jones received signing bonuses to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders, respectively.

Dietrich-Smith, who completed his first full season as the Packers' starting center last year, signed a four-year, $14.25 million contract that will pay him $3.5 million in the first year. Jones, a seven-year contributor as a receiver, signed a three-year, $10 million contract with the Oakland Raiders that will pay him $3.8 million in the first year.

Both are essentially pay-as-you-go deals because there are no signing-bonus prorations over the length of the deal. That means either player could be cut after this season with no future salary-cap ramifications.

Here's a look at the deals signed by the two former Packers, according ESPN Stats & Information:

Evan Dietrich Smith

2014
  • Roster bonus: $1 million
  • Base salary: $2.5 million
2015
  • Base salary: $3.75 million
2016
  • Base salary: $2.5 million
2017
  • Roster bonus: $1 million
  • Base salary: $3.5 million
James Jones

2014
  • Roster bonus: $2 million
  • Base salary: $1.65 million
  • Workout bonus: $150,000
2015
  • Base salary: $2.95 million
  • Workout bonus: $150,000
2016
  • Base salary: $2.95 million
  • Workout bonus: $150,000
Note: Jones could earn up to $433,000 in incentives in each season

Free-agency review: Packers

March, 18, 2014
Mar 18
9:00
AM ET
Peppers
Most significant signing: Re-signing perhaps their top three defensive free agents -- cornerback Sam Shields, defensive tackle B.J. Raji and outside linebacker/defensive end Mike Neal -- was important, but that didn't necessarily make the Green Bay Packers' 25th-ranked defense better. They hope the addition of defensive end Julius Peppers does that. Peppers had seven sacks in a down season last year for the Chicago Bears, yet that was more than any of the Packers' defensive linemen had last season. Even at age 34, expect Peppers to be motivated to bounce back and energized playing for a team he considers a Super Bowl contender.

Most significant loss: When Evan Dietrich-Smith signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, it ensured that quarterback Aaron Rodgers will take snaps for a fourth starting center in as many seasons. It also broke up an offensive line group that started all but two games together last season. The most likely internal replacement is second-year pro JC Tretter, but he was a college tackle at Cornell who did not play a single snap last year as a rookie.

Jones
Jones
Biggest surprise: Apparently 24 touchdown catches over the last three seasons doesn't count for much on the free-agent market. How else to explain why it took a week for anyone to sign former Packers receiver James Jones, who finally landed a three-year deal with the Oakland Raiders on Monday? Maybe it's that Jones will turn 30 on March 31. While Jones caught only three touchdowns last season, he had 14 in 2012 and seven in 2011. Last season, he caught 59 passes for a career-best 817 yards despite missing nearly three full games.

What’s next? Even after Jones signed, the Packers still have 10 of their own free agents still unsigned. Among them are quarterback Matt Flynn, fullback John Kuhn, tight end Jermichael Finley (visited the Seattle Seahawks), tackle Marshall Newhouse (scheduled to visit the Cincinnati Bengals) plus defensive tackles Johnny Jolly and Ryan Pickett.
Each week, I will ask for questions via Twitter with the hashtag #PackersMail and then will deliver the answers over the weekend.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- In his first nine seasons as the Green Bay Packers starting quarterback, Brett Favre had two starting centers -- James Campen (two years) and Frank Winters (seven).

Aaron Rodgers will be on his fourth in four seasons after Evan Dietrich-Smith signed a free-agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday. And there is a decent chance it will be someone who has never played the position in the NFL.

Tretter
Dietrich-Smith completed his first full season as a starter last year after taking over for Jeff Saturday late in the 2012 season. Saturday lasted just one year after replacing Scott Wells, who was Rodgers' primary center in his first four seasons as a starter.

Perhaps the center-quarterback relationship isn't crucial, but don’t tell that to Rodgers. Shortly after the season on his ESPN 540 Milwaukee radio show, he called it "very important."

He then recalled a conversation he had with Dietrich-Smith during training camp.

"I just challenged him that this was a great opportunity and that he could really set up himself up to be a long-term guy here with a solid performance in training camp," Rodgers said. "And he did that and more.

"He's a very intelligent guy who had a very good season for us, and I'm proud of him in his development, and I hope that he’s around a long time."

Instead, Rodgers will have to adjust to someone new again.

The Packers have plenty of options, although none with any significant experience.

They like JC Tretter, a fourth-round pick last season who played tackle in college at Cornell. But Tretter did not play at all last season after breaking his ankle during the first week of offseason practices in May and only began working at center in November, when he returned to practice from the physically unable perform list.

"I think that kid has a lot of potential to play all five positions," Campen, the Packers' offensive line coach, said after the season. "Will he take reps at center? Yeah, sure he will. Wouldn't be surprised if he's taking reps at guard or tackle. You know, there's a lot of things that have to go through that process, certainly [Tretter] has displayed the ability to play center, yes."

Third-year pro Don Barclay, who played right tackle the past two seasons, could be an option. He worked at center during training camp last summer before he took over at right tackle. With Bryan Bulaga expected to return from his knee injury and go back to right tackle, it could free up Barclay to move inside.

The Packers have no plans to move T.J. Lang to center even though Lang slid over from right guard in two games last season when Dietrich-Smith was injured. The Packers don’t think Lang is a long-term solution at center and also believe he’s far more valuable at guard.

It's possible they could draft another center prospect, although it wouldn't likely be a high pick.

They also could pursue a free-agent center. The best one on the market is Alex Mack, a Pro Bowler with the Cleveland Browns. Mack currently carries the transition tag from the Browns, who could match any offer Mack gets from another team. The transition tag would pay Mack a $10 million salary this season. The most likely scenario for Mack to leave Cleveland might be in a trade.
A roundup of what's happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- We're on to the fourth day of full-blown free agency and a week removed from the start of the negotiating period, and none of the Packers' unrestricted free agents have signed with other teams.

The longer things stay that way, the better chance they have of retaining players such as center Evan Dietrich-Smith, receiver James Jones, fullback John Kuhn, defensive tackle B.J. Raji and perhaps some of the others on the Packers' lengthy list of free agents.

Dietrich-Smith, the starting center last season, visited the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but remains unsigned. Other than tight end Jermichael Finley, who visited the Seattle Seahawks, none of the Packers' other free agents have been known to make visits.

One by one, the Packers have begun to re-sign some of their own free agents. After getting deals done with cornerback Sam Shields on Saturday and outside linebacker/defensive end Mike Neal on Wednesday, general manager Ted Thompson re-signed tight end Andrew Quarless on Thursday.

Could more re-signings be far off?

Here's a recap of the rest of the Packers-related happenings from Day 3 of free agency, with a little perspective added in:
  • Re-signing Quarless gives the Packers a player they want to continue to develop, but it didn't necessarily solve all of their issues at tight end.
  • The Packers expect a visit from free-agent defensive tackle Vance Walker perhaps as soon as Friday. Walker, a starter for the Oakland Raiders last season, doesn’t have star power but could provide some depth on the defensive line. Walker visited the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday.
  • The full breakdown of Neal’s contract showed that his salary-cap number is actually higher in 2015 than it is this season.
A roundup of what's happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- To the surprise of no one, the Packers sat idle on the first day of free agency.

And Day 2 could be more of the same.

As of the end of the day on Tuesday, the first day of the new NFL year, the Packers did not have any visits set up with any of the available players.

If the Packers do anything in free agency -- and they often don't -- it's almost never in the opening days. As good a signing as Charles Woodson was for the Packers in 2006, it's worth remembering that almost no one else wanted him. He did not settle for the Packers' offer until three days before the draft that season.

The Packers view defensive end Julius Peppers, who was released by the Chicago Bears, as the best defensive front player still available. But at age 34, he probably isn't a player Packers general manager Ted Thompson would be willing to pay.

Perhaps the next best option as a pass-rusher is DeMarcus Ware, who was released by the Dallas Cowboys for the same reason as Peppers. Ware is younger (he turns 32 in July) and would be a good fit for the Packers' 3-4 defense. The Packers spent part of Tuesday discussing Ware but have not set up a visit. That would likely only happen if Ware goes unsigned after the initial wave of interest.

Here’s a recap of the rest of the Packers-related happenings from day one of free agency, with a little perspective added in:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Seattle Seahawks will be the first team to take a look at tight end Jermichael Finley.

Just minutes after Finley hit the free-agent market, an NFL source said he would arrive in Seattle on Tuesday night and will visit with the Seahawks on Wednesday. One of the first orders of business, according to the source, was a meeting with the Seahawks doctors, who will examine his surgically repaired neck.

Bush
Finley
Finley underwent fusion surgery between the C-3 and C-4 vertebra last November following the season-ending neck injury he sustained on Oct. 20 against the Cleveland Browns.

It's unclear if the Green Bay Packers have had a chance to examine Finley recently. In fact, it's not even known if Finley's surgeon, Dr. Joseph Maroon, has cleared Finley. Maroon is the Pittsburgh Steelers' team doctor.

Last month at the NFL scouting combine, Packers coach Mike McCarthy was optimistic that Finley would be cleared, saying the injury wasn't exactly the same as the one suffered by former Packers safety Nick Collins. The Packers released Collins following a C-3/C-4 fusion surgery in 2011.

Finley is a free agent for the second time in three years. Two years ago, he opted to sign only a two-year deal (for $14 million) in the hope that he would blossom into a star and command an even bigger contract the next time around.

If Finley signs with the Seahawks, he would be reunited with general manager John Schneider, who was one of packers general Manager Ted Thompson's top personnel advisors in Green Bay when the Packers drafted Finley in the third round in 2008.

In 70 games with the Packers over six seasons, Finley has 223 catches for 2,785 yards and 20 touchdowns. In 2012, he set a franchise record for receptions by a tight end with 61.

In other news involving Packers' free agents, center Evan Dietrich-Smith is scheduled to visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan confirmed the visit. The New York Giants also are believed to be interested in Dietrich-Smith.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Last week, we posed a question about five of the Green Bay Packers' key free agents: Keep him or dump him?

With the official start of free agency just a few hours away, let's take a look at the poll results.

Of the five -- tight end Jermichael Finley, receiver James Jones, center Evan Dietrich-Smith, defensive tackle B.J. Raji and outside linebacker Mike Neal -- only one received more "dump him" votes than "keep him."

It was Finley, the mercurial tight end who is coming off neck surgery. As of noon Monday, 51 percent clicked on the "dump him" button.

Here are the full results for each player:

Jermichael Finley
  • Total votes: 8,335
  • Re-sign him: 49 percent
  • Let him walk: 51 percent
James Jones
  • Total votes: 6,716
  • Re-sign him: 62 percent
  • Let him walk: 38 percent
Evan Dietrich-Smith
  • Total votes: 3,762
  • Re-sign him: 76 percent
  • Let him walk: 24 percent
B.J. Raji
  • Total votes: 3,067
  • Re-sign him: 53 percent
  • Let him walk: 47 percent
Mike Neal
  • Total votes: 2,412
  • Re-sign him: 77 percent
  • Let him walk: 23 percent
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- In the early hours of the NFL's three-day window during which free agents can negotiate -- but not sign -- with other teams, there's been little movement among the Green Bay Packers’ 17 unrestricted free agents.

Which ones could be the most valuable might come as a surprise.

While cornerback Sam Shields likely will be draw the largest contract among the 17, one experienced personnel evaluator did not grade him as the Packers' top free agent.

Former Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Polian, who serves as an ESPN analyst, worked with our ESPN Insider's team to come up with grades Insider for all the unrestricted free agents around the league.

When it came to the Packers' 17, center Evan Dietrich-Smith received the highest mark with a B-plus.

Outside linebacker Mike Neal was second among the Packers' players with a B-minus. Shields was tied for third with fullback John Kuhn with marks of C-plus.

Tight end Jermichael Finley, who is coming off neck surgery, was graded as a C in large part because of his injury. B.J. Raji was given a C-minus.

Polian's grading scale looked like this:
  • A: $6 million-plus annual average value, three-plus years in term and/or guaranteed money
  • B: $2 million to $6 million AAV, two years or fewer in term and/or guaranteed money
  • C: $2 million or less AAV, two years or fewer in term and/or guaranteed money
  • D: minimum salary, one-year contract

Here's what Polian had to say about some of the notable Packers' free agents:

On Dietrich-Smith: “When it comes to Dietrich-Smith, everything is good except his overall strength, but that's not a terrible detriment for a center. He is productive, is quick and has great character traits. He was elevated to the starting job in 2013 and worked exceptionally hard to get there.”

On Neal: “Neal is a good fit as a 3-4 pass-rusher. He is a big guy who can convert speed to power, but he is limited in acceleration to the passer. In terms of scheme fit, he is really only a target as a 3-4 DE.”

On Kuhn: “Kuhn is an interesting guy. If an offense needs a fullback-neutral-blocker, neutral-short-yardage, neutral-goal-line guy, he can be valuable. He also helps as a special-teams contributor. I would want him on my team, but I wouldn't break the bank.”

On Shields: “Shields is a solid cover guy, but his tackling is not outstanding. He has put up three or more interceptions each of the past three seasons.”

On Finley: “I'm still debating this grade. I don't think I can make him an B due to the injury. Finley is not ideal as a blocker, but the rest of his game is pretty good. I'd take pause before spending big money though. A lot will rely on his health outlook because it's a very serious injury.”

On Raji: "Raji is a big name -- and a big player -- but like his teammate Ryan Pickett, he will only fit defenses that feature no-movement nose tackle."

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