Center Tretter leaves Packers for Browns via free agency

J.C. Tretter could never grab hold of the starting center job with the Green Bay Packers. He’ll get that opportunity with the Cleveland Browns.

On the first day when NFL teams are allowed to sign free agents, the Browns gave Tretter a three-year deal worth $16.75 million.

Tretter was a fourth-round pick of the Packers in 2013. After missing all of his rookie season due an ankle injury he suffered during organized team activities, he then hurt his knee in a preseason game which cost him half of the 2014 season as well as the starting center job.

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A backup in 2015, Tretter played in all 16 games, making three starts at center filling in for an injured Corey Linsley.

Tretter took over as the starting center last season after Linsley hurt his hamstring. Tretter started seven games before injuring his knee, which eventually required surgery. Tretter played a career-high 488 offensive snaps for the Packers in 2016, allowing two sacks and committing two penalties.

Linsley, Green Bay’s fifth-round pick in 2014, will be Green Bay’s starting center in 2017. He has played 38 games — all starts — in his three seasons with the Packers. He allowed no sacks and had one penalty in nine games in 2016.