Grading on a Salary Cap Curve: Tight Ends

In Part 5 of our series, we grade the performance of the Packers' underwhelming corps of tight ends, which were led by Andrew Quarless and Richard Rodgers. (Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY)

We’re taking a different spin on everyone’s favorite end-of-season exercise — player grades — by grading on a curve. Building a roster means building around the restraints of the salary cap, so our grades are based relative to the players’ salary-cap worth on the roster.

Part 5 of our “Grading on a Salary Cap Curve” series continues with the tight ends. Salary cap figures are from a source with access to NFLPA salary data. Stats are regular season only unless noted.

Andrew Quarless

2014 cap number: $1,250,000.

2014 recap: Quarless caught 29 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns. His previous career-best season was last year, when he caught 32 passes for 312 yards and two scores. This year’s touchdown total matched his career tally. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Quarless averaged 5.3 YAC per reception. Of the 43 tight ends who caught at least 20 passes, that ranked an impressive 12th. He dropped only two passes, the same as last year, by PFF’s tally. A better player probably makes the third-and-6 catch against Seattle, which might have helped the Packers run out the clock and get to the Super Bowl. He had a solid season as a run blocker, as evidenced by the Packers averaging 0.26 yards more carry with Quarless in the game than on the bench, according to league data. That’s why he played about 90 more snaps than the rest of the tight ends combined.

Season grade: C.

Richard Rodgers

2014 cap number: $546,504.

2014 recap: The third-round pick caught 20 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns. He caught 17 passes in the final nine games, then added five more in the playoffs, as a sign of quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ growing confidence. Among this year’s rookie tight ends, he finished fourth in receptions, third in yards and tied for first with two touchdowns. Rodgers will never be a game-breaking target but he knows how to use his body to shield away defenders to get the ball against tight coverage, and showed he could take a hit vs. Seattle. He dropped just one pass. However, he did almost nothing with the ball after the catch. Of the 43 tight ends with 20 receptions, only two averaged less than his 2.5 YAC per reception. And, despite the coaches repeatedly saying Rodgers was improving as a blocker, that never seemed accurate. Green Bay averaged 0.71 yards less per carry with Rodgers on the field vs. on the sideline. If Rodgers can’t figure out that part of the game, he’ll never be more than a complementary player.

Season grade: C-minus.

Brandon Bostick

2014 cap number: $495,000.

2014 recap: In the second preseason game, Bostick sustained a leg injury that essentially ruined his season. To that point, he was on course to be the No. 1 tight end. By season’s end, the overhyped Bostick — the comically nicknamed “Finley Lite” considering he caught all of seven passes in 2013 (not to mention being 1 3/8 inches shorter than Jermichael Finley) — played only 34 snaps on offense and caught two passes for 3 yards and a touchdown. Ultimately, the coaches didn’t trust Bostick. And, looking back at the nightmare onside kick that doomed the Packers’ chances of getting to the Super Bowl, now we know why. Who knows which direction Bostick’s career will head after that play. At least he faced the music like a man — unlike a lot of his teammates, who didn’t show their face in the locker room for a media session a day after the game.

Season grade: F.

Justin Perillo

2014 cap number: $172,941.

2014 recap: Perillo, an undrafted rookie from Maine, had an impressive training camp — though he undeniably looked odd wearing Donald Driver’s No. 80 — and opened the season on the practice squad. After a midseason promotion, he played in two games, a total of 11 snaps vs. Philadelphia and Minnesota. He’s an intriguing prospect who needs an offseason of strength development.

Season grade: Incomplete.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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