Green Bay Packers: Andrew Quarless

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- There are several ways to judge an offseason.

The ESPN Insider team took one approach late last month, when it assigned grades to every team’s free-agent moves Insider. In that project, it gave the Green Bay Packers a C-plus.

Here's another way to do it -- by the Las Vegas odds.

In that regard, the Packers fared even better.

Two months after the LVH SuperBook listed the Packers' odds to win Super Bowl XLIX at 16-1, those odds have improved. In its latest figures released this week, the LVH SuperBook listed the Packers as 12-1 to win the Super Bowl.

Only four teams were listed ahead of the Packers -- the defending champion Seattle Seahawks (4-1), the runner-up Denver Broncos (5-1), the San Francisco 49ers (6-1) and the New England Patriots (8-1).

Vegas apparently likes the direction general manager Ted Thompson has gone this offseason, signing pass-rusher Julius Peppers to bolster the defense and retaining some of his own key free agents such as cornerback Sam Shields, nose tackle B.J. Raji, outside linebacker/defensive end Mike Neal, fullback John Kuhn, tight end Andrew Quarless and running back James Starks.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- When free agency began a month ago, the Green Bay Packers had the sixth-most salary-cap space among all NFL teams.

A month later, even after re-signing several of their own free agents and adding Julius Peppers, their salary-cap situation remains healthy.

They are currently $15,636,891 under their adjusted salary cap for the 2014 season. That ranks as the seventh-most cap space available, according to the latest figures from ESPN Stats & Information contract data.

The Packers will need about $5 million in cap space for their rookie salaries.

At this time of year, only the top 51 contracts count toward the salary-cap.

With that in mind, here's a position-by-position look at the Packers' salary-cap situation under the top 51 rule. Let's start with the offense:

Quarterbacks

Rodgers
Rodgers
Percentage of salary-cap space used: 14.26

Total cap charge: $18,195,000

NFL average: $11,667,289

Biggest cap hit: Aaron Rodgers, $17.55 million

Biggest bargain: Scott Tolzien, $645,000

Outlook: The Packers are expected to re-sign Matt Flynn but that won't change their salary-cap significantly because it's likely to be a low-cost contract. Last year, Flynn returned in midseason for the veteran's minimum. Although Rodgers is under contract through 2019, his cap number does not increase significantly. At its highest, it is $21.1 million in the final year but does not exceed $20 million until 2017.

Running backs

Starks
Percentage of salary-cap space used: 3.84

Total cap charge: $4,904,558

NFL average: $7,750,422

Biggest cap hit: James Starks, $1,370,313

Biggest bargain: Eddie Lacy, $771,003

Outlook: The situation at running back illustrates why it's so important to hit on draft picks. Lacy, a second-round pick last year, is the team's best running back and should be for the foreseeable future. His rookie contract keeps his cap figure low throughout. It doesn't exceed $1 million until its final year, 2016. That prevents the Packers from having to pay big money for a running back for a while. Other than Starks, fullback John Kuhn is the only other player at this position with a cap charge in excess of $1 million ($1.026 million).

Receiver

Nelson
Percentage of salary-cap space used: 6.45

Total cap charge: $8,230,391

NFL average: $13,535,504

Biggest cap hit: Jordy Nelson, $4,375,000

Biggest bargain: Randall Cobb, $1,021,179

Outlook: The majority of the remaining cap space likely will be spent on this position. Nelson and Cobb both are entering the final season of their current contracts and will be in line for extensions, perhaps as soon as the next few weeks or months. If Jarrett Boykin ends up being the No. 3 receiver and produces like he did last year, when he had 49 catches over the final 12 games, he will be a bargain with a cap number of just $570,000.

Tight end

Quarless
Percentage of salary-cap space used: 2.27

Total cap charge: $2,899,794

NFL average: $6,117,287

Biggest cap hit: Andrew Quarless, $1,250,000

Biggest bargain: Brandon Bostick, $495,000

Outlook: The Packers almost certainly aren't done adding players to this position. If they don't re-sign Jermichael Finley, who is awaiting medical clearance following last year's neck surgery, they likely will draft a tight end perhaps even in one of the early rounds. Quarless was a free agent but re-signed for the modest price of $3 million over two years. The Packers have high hopes for the athletic Bostick, who was originally an undrafted free agent.

Offensive line

Sitton
Percentage of salary-cap space used: 16.62

Total cap charge: $21,202,414

NFL average: $21,430,114

Biggest cap hit: Josh Sitton, $6,400,000

Biggest bargain: David Bakhtiari, $608,850

Outlook: While the Packers guards, Sitton and T.J. Lang, are signed through 2016, right tackle Bryan Bulaga ($3,839,000) is entering the final year of his rookie deal. The Packers will have to decide whether to extend Bulaga, who missed all of last season because of a knee injury and the second half of 2012 because of a hip injury. If JC Tretter ends up being the starting center, the second-year former fourth-round pick will be a bargain ($598,777).
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.
The Green Bay Packers have big plans for their returning tight ends, even if Jermichael Finley isn't one of them.

Finley still has not been cleared to resume his career following last season’s neck injury.

Bostick
Quarless
Even if Finley is cleared, which at this point remains in question, there's no guarantee general manager Ted Thompson will re-sign him.

So it was no surprise to hear coach Mike McCarthy talk Wednesday at the NFL annual meetings about Andrew Quarless and Brandon Bostick as players he views as possible significant contributors this season and in the future.

The Packers re-signed Quarless to a two-year, $3 million contract after he finished last season as the starter in place of Finley.

But Bostick, a former small-college receiver, might be the more intriguing of the two. At 6-foot-3, 250 pounds and with a basketball background at Newberry (S.C) College, Bostick is a Finley clone in terms of body type and athleticism. In limited opportunities last season, his first on the active roster after spending his rookie season on the practice squad, Bostick averaged 17.1 yards per catch on seven catches and had one touchdown.

His role increased following Finley's season-ending neck injury Oct. 20 against the Cleveland Browns. He first proved himself on special teams before getting a chance on offense.

"When you look at performance on special teams, it's always a pretty good indicator of how guys are going to transition to their offensive and defensive responsibilities," McCarthy told reporters at the NFC coaches breakfast. "And Bostick's right there. I thought he really improved and was one of our four core players on special teams. He's doing some really good things in his limited opportunities on offense."

It was surprising to hear McCarthy call Bostick the team's best blocking tight end before a foot injury ended his season in Week 15.

"That is something he had to grow into, develop into," McCarthy said. "I look at him as still a young, ascending player."

Both Bostick, 24, and Quarless, 25, fit that category. Quarless missed all of the 2012 season after blowing out his knee late in 2011.

"I felt like last year, he wasn't quite where [he was] two years ago,” McCarthy said. "Just quite wasn't himself. I thought last year there was a big hurdle that he actually made it through the whole season. It's something that he struggled with. We felt that he has a chance to get all the way back and still is a young ascending player."
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The seven players the Green Bay Packers signed or re-signed since the start of free agency received a total of $24.175 million in guaranteed money.

However, more than 80 percent of that went to two players -- cornerback Sam Shields ($12.5 million) and defensive end Julius Peppers ($7.5 million).

All of the guaranteed money came in the form of signing bonuses. For salary-cap purposes, that means each player's bonus will be prorated over the life of the contract. For example, Shields' bonus will count for $3.125 million on the salary cap during each of the contract's four years.

Let's review the highlights of each deal the Packers have done:

Sam Shields, CB
  • Details: Four years, $39 million, including a $12.5 million signing bonus.
  • 2014 cash value: $15 million.
  • 2014 salary-cap charge: $5,562,500.
  • Full breakdown available here.
Julius Peppers, DE
  • Details: Three years, $26 million, including a $7.5 million signing bonus.
  • 2014 cash value: $8.5 million.
  • 2014 salary-cap charge: $3.5 million
  • Full breakdown available here.
B.J. Raji, DT
  • Details: One year, $4 million, including a $500,000 signing bonus.
  • 2014 cash value: $4 million.
  • 2014 salary-cap charge: $4 million
  • Full breakdown available here.
Mike Neal, OLB/DE
  • Details: Two years, $8 million including a $2.5 million signing bonus.
  • 2014 cash value: $5 million.
  • 2014 salary-cap charge: $3.75 million.
  • Full breakdown available here.
James Starks, RB
  • Details: Two years, $3.165 million including a $750,000 signing bonus.
  • 2014 cash value: $1,732,813.
  • 2014 salary-cap charge: $1,370,313.
  • Full breakdown available here.
Andrew Quarless, TE
  • Details: Two years, $3 million including a $350,000 signing bonus.
  • 2014 cash value: $1.425 million.
  • 2014 salary-cap charge: $1.25 million.
  • Full breakdown available here.
Letroy Guion, DT
  • Details: One year, $985,000 including a $100,000 signing bonus.
  • 2014 cash value: $985,000.
  • 2014 salary-cap charge: $985,000.
  • Full breakdown available here.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Shortly before free agency opened, the Green Bay Packers had the sixth-most salary-cap space in the NFL.

Since then, they have re-signed cornerback Sam Shields, defensive tackle B.J. Raji, outside linebacker/defensive end Mike Neal, tight end Andrew Quarless, tendered restricted free-agent linebacker Jamari Lattimore and added free-agent defensive linemen Julius Peppers and Letroy Guion.

They began the month with nearly $34.2 million in cap space and even after all that activity, they still have about half of that remaining.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Packers had $20,627,413 in available cap space as of the start of the second week of free agency. However, that did not include Raji’s one-year, $4 million contract. It also did not include the new two-year deal that running back James Starks has agreed to but has yet to be announced by the team.

According to NFL Players Association salary information, counting the Packers' top-51 players under contract -- which is all that must be counted for cap purposes at this time of the year -- the Packers still had $17,024,449 in salary-cap space as of the start of business on Wednesday. That also did not include Starks' contract.

The Packers will need around $5 million for their rookie salary pool but even accounting for that, general manager Ted Thompson still has room to maneuver.

Among the things he has to consider is having enough space to extend the contracts of receivers Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, both of whom are entering the final years of their contracts. Their situation likely played a role in Thompson's decision not to re-sign receiver James Jones, who signed a three-year, $10 million deal with the Oakland Raiders on Monday.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The details of the two-year contract that tight end Andrew Quarless signed with the Green Bay Packers on Thursday suggest the team isn't done adding players at that position.

Quarless
The deal contained a signing bonus of only $350,000 and has a total value of just $3 million over the life of the deal. It's hardly a blockbuster deal for a player who started 10 games last season.

Here's the full breakdown of the contract, according to ESPN Stats & Information:

2014
  • Cash value: $1.425 million
  • Salary-cap charge: $1.25 million
  • Signing bonus: $350,000
  • Roster bonus: Up to $200,000 ($12,500 per game active)
  • Workout bonus: $75,000
  • Base salary: $800,000
2015
  • Cash value: $1.575 million
  • Salary-cap charge: $1.75 million
  • Roster bonus: Up to $200,000 ($12,500 per game active)
  • Workout bonus: $75,000
  • Base salary: $1.3 million
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.
GREEN BAY, Wis. – If he gets out of Kansas City without signing with the Chiefs, free-agent defensive tackle Vance Walker will visit the Green Bay Packers.

His agent, Tommy Sims, said on Thursday a visit with the Packers has been set up but an exact date has not yet been finalized. That could depend on what happens during Walker's visit with the Chiefs on Thursday.

Walker, 6-foot-2 and 305 pounds, played for the Oakland Raiders last season under a one-year, $2 million contract.

He appeared in 15 games and posted 40 tackles with three sacks. Originally a seventh-round draft pick in 2009, Walker played his first four seasons for the Atlanta Falcons. He played 10 games as a rookie and then appeared in all 16 games each of his next three seasons.

The Packers' entire starting defensive line -- Johnny Jolly, Ryan Pickett and B.J. Raji -- became free agents on Tuesday. None have been signed.

Walker, 26, would be the second player known to have visited the Packers since free agency began on Tuesday. They had former Houston Texans tight end Owen Daniels in on Wednesday.

Other than re-signing three of their own free agents – cornerback Sam Shields, outside linebacker/defensive end Mike Neal and tight end Andrew Quarless – the Packers have not signed anyone in free agency.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Re-signing Andrew Quarless on Thursday gave the Green Bay Packers some security at the tight end position.

Entering his fifth season, Quarless might be on the cusp of a breakout, so it was a wise move to bring him back.

He showed signs late last season of being the player they liked as a fifth-round pick in 2010 coming out of Penn State. He took over as the starting tight end midway through last season after Jermichael Finley's season-ending neck injury on Oct. 20 against the Cleveland Browns.

Given his size (6-foot-4, 252 pounds), the Packers like Quarless as both a blocker and a receiver. He caught 32 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns last season and is a more natural blocker than Finley.

They also are high on Brandon Bostick, an athletic receiving tight end who resembles Finley in terms of body type and skill level more so than Quarless does. In a limited role last season, Bostick averaged 17.1 yards per catch before a foot injury ended his season on Dec. 15.

But the tight end position is hardly settled.

That won't begin to happen until a determination is made about Finley. It's unclear whether the Packers have had a chance recently to examine his surgically repaired neck. Finley underwent surgery last November to fuse his C-3 and C-4 vertebra.

Finley visited the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday and Wednesday and was scheduled to meet with their team doctors. However, no deal has been completed, meaning Finley remains on the market.

Even if the Packers already have decided not to bring back Finley, that doesn't mean they will stand pat with Quarless, Bostick and their other returning tight ends (Ryan Taylor, Jake Stoneburner and Raymond Webber). They had Owen Daniels, formerly of the Houston Texans, in for a visit on Wednesday. Daniels is scheduled to visit the Washington Redskins next.

This is a tight-end-rich draft class. In fact, ESPN's Todd McShay had the Packers taking North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron with the 21st overall pick in his latest mock draft. Insider
Jennings
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It's official: The Green Bay Packers will have a new starting free safety next season.

We don't know who it will be, but we know it won't be M.D. Jennings.

After starting every game for the Packers last season, Jennings wasn't even offered a restricted free-agent tender before Tuesday's deadline. On Wednesday, he signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears.

Given how ineffective Jennings was last season, the decision not to tender him was expected. Although Jennings was a full-time starter last season, the Packers tried to replace him at various points, using Chris Banjo early in the season and Sean Richardson late in the year.

Jennings was part of a safety group that failed to come up with a single interception last season. The Packers were the only team in the NFL that did not get an interception from one of their safeties in 2013.

Jennings, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent from Arkansas State, will be best remembered for being on the wrong end of the Fail Mary play against the Seattle Seahawks in 2012. Jennings thought he intercepted a pass that instead was ruled the game-winning touchdown by Golden Tate.

The Packers were not involved in any of the first wave of safeties to sign shortly after free agency opened Tuesday. Six safeties -- Donte Whitner, T.J. Ward, Antoine Bethea, Malcolm Jenkins, Jairus Byrd and Mike Mitchell -- all signed significant contracts within the first 24 hours of free agency with Byrd's deal (six years, $64 million with the New Orleans Saints) topping the market.

Last month at the scouting combine, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Micah Hyde likely will play some at safety this season, but it's unclear if the second-year defensive back will make a full-time transition from cornerback.

Jennings might not be the only Packers player on the Bears’ radar. According to the Chicago Tribune, they have interest in Packers outside linebacker/defensive end Mike Neal, who is an unrestricted free agent.

Also on Wednesday, the Packers set up their first free-agent visit. Former Houston Texans tight end Owen Daniels will meet with the Packers. Daniels, who played at the University of Wisconsin, was released by the Texans last week in a cost-cutting move. Daniels missed all but five games last season because of a broken leg.

The Packers are in the market for a tight end because they could lose both Jermichael Finley (who is visiting the Seahawks) and free agent Andrew Quarless.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers would like to bring back tight end Andrew Quarless, but it might not be easy.

The former fifth-round draft pick from Penn State already is drawing plenty of interest on the free-agent market, according to his agent, Chris Cabot.

Quarless
Cabot said Monday that he has had discussions with the Packers and seven other NFL teams about Quarless since the free-agent negotiating period opened on Saturday.

Until 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, only the Packers can sign Quarless. If a deal can't be reached by then, Quarless would be free to sign with another team.

The 6-foot-4, 252-pound Quarless is coming off a season in which he set career highs in receptions (32), yards (312) and touchdowns (two). He became the Packers' starting tight end after Jermichael Finley's season-ending neck injury on Oct. 20.

In perhaps the best display of what he could potentially become, Quarless had back-to-back games with six catches for 66 yards and a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 14 and Dallas Cowboys in Week 15.

Quarless missed the entire 2012 season because of a knee injury he sustained late in 2011, and the Packers believe he still has room for growth.

"I think he's got more in the tank, and we talked about that throughout the season," Packers tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot said shortly after the season. "I think that he's made strides in being a better receiver and understanding where he needs to be on the field at any given point. As with anything, you always work on consistency."

Cabot did not name any of the seven other teams who have inquired about his client, but among those believed to be interested in Quarless are the New York Giants, where former Packers assistant coach Ben McAdoo is the new offensive coordinator. McAdoo was Quarless’ position coach in 2010 and 2011 before moving over to quarterbacks coach.

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