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Free-agent countdown: No. 10 Andrew Quarless

Feb. 12, 2014
 
Green Bay Packers tight end Andrew Quarless had his best season in 2013. File/Press-Gazette Media
Green Bay Packers tight end Andrew Quarless had his best season in 2013. File/Press-Gazette Media

2014 free-agent countdown

20. Chris Banjo, safety
19. Seneca Wallace, quarterback
18. Kahlil Bell, running back
17. Robert Francois, inside linebacker
16. Marshall Newhouse, offensive lineman
15. C.J. Wilson, defensive lineman
14. M.D. Jennings, safety
13. Jamari Lattimore, inside linebacker
12. Johnny Jolly, defensive line
11. Matt Flynn, quarterback
10. Andrew Quarless, tight end

More

There was no guarantee that Andrew Quarless would survive cutdown day last summer.

For the Green Bay Packers’ sake, it’s a good thing he did.

The 6-foot-4, 252-pound tight end earned back his roster spot after missing the 2012 season with a gruesome knee injury. He wound up playing more snaps than any other Packers’ tight end last season.

When Jermichael Finley was lost for the season with a neck injury in October, Quarless called himself a “safety valve” for the chorus of backup quarterbacks the team turned to in the wake of Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbone.

Both Quarless and Finley are unrestricted free agents this offseason with the jury still out on Finley’s future as he rehabs from cervical fusion of his C-3 and C-4 vertebrae.

If the Packers keep the same conservative approach they took with Nick Collins, the team could be in the market for a new starting tight end.

Quarless, playing in all 16 games for the first time in his career, set new career highs of 32 catches for 312 yards and two touchdowns. However, he’s still not a finished project.

“I think that he’s got a ways to go. He’s got more in the tank,” Packers tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot said last month. “We’ve talked about that during the season. There were certain aspects of the run-blocking that we need to improve that, and I felt like he made strides in that area. Just being more consistent was the biggest challenge. I think that overall, his body strength is not where it was before he got injured – at least that’s my observation.”

One interesting takeaway from Quarless’ season is the stark contrast between his production when Rodgers was at quarterback as opposed to Seneca Wallace, Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien.

Only eight of Quarless’ 32 catches came on passes from Rodgers for a total of 72 yards in eight games. Granted, Finley was healthy for the first six games. Working with Rodgers' backups, Quarless had 24 receptions for 240 yards and two touchdowns.

The Packers will have to gauge Quarless' value on the market and decide whether he’d be worth another investment. They have three tight ends under contract for this season -- Brandon Bostick, Ryan Taylor and Jake Stoneburner -- but none are as well-rounded as Quarless or Finley.

Quarless is healthy, though. The Penn State alumnus stayed on the field all season outside of a quadriceps injury during training camp and showed the knee injury is behind him.

“I definitely think I proved a couple things this year,” Quarless said. “Just going back to my team though, we all were just fighting. I’m proud of everybody.”

Editor's note: Prior to the start of the new league year in March, Press-Gazette Media is counting down the top 20 unrestricted, restricted and exclusive right free agents the Green Bay Packers will have to decide on this offseason.

No. 10 Andrew Quarless, fourth-year tight end

The skinny: Unrestricted free agent.

The snaps: 778 total (693 offense, 85 special teams).

The stats: 32 catches for 312 yards and two touchdowns.

The 2013 salary: $1,328,075.

About this blog

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