While the knee-jerk reaction among many fans is the Green Bay Packers should release Andrew Quarless, who was arrested in Miami on July 4 for discharging a firearm in public, the team intends to stick with their tight end.
The decision shouldn’t come as any surprise. Public image is important but winning is what’s critical. If the Packers were to release Quarless, then what? It’s not as if the Packers have an abundance of talent at the position. Quarless and Richard Rodgers, a third-round pick last year, basically shared top billing last season, with Quarless averaging about 10 snaps more per game. Quarless caught 29 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner in, of all places, Miami. Rodgers chipped in 20 catches for 225 yards and two touchdowns.
Otherwise, with the offseason release of Brandon Bostick (two catches, 3 yards, one touchdown), Justin Perillo is the only other tight end on the roster with NFL experience. As an undrafted free agent out of Maine, he played all of 11 snaps as a rookie. They are joined by three rookies. A sixth-round pick was used on Kennard Backman, who struggled catching the ball throughout the offseason. Mitchell Henry was signed immediately after the draft and Harold Spears was added during the minicamp. If the Packers were to release Quarless, Rodgers would be the No. 1 and the team almost certainly would have to find a veteran retread on the market to build some sort of depth.
Green Bay’s tight ends caught 51 passes last season for 551 yards and five touchdowns. Only seven teams got fewer catches, though the touchdown total tied for 16th, as did the 10.8-yard average per catch.
The chart below shows the league-wide production from tight ends last season, listed in order of receptions. The categories are self-explanatory. Targets, drops and missed tackles (“MT” on the chart) are from ProFootballFocus.com.