To prepare for training camp, we will be breaking down every player on the Green Bay Packers' 90-man roster in more detail, looking at contract terms and 2013 statistics, before we make our prediction for which players will make the 53-man roster at the end of training camp.
We continue our roster breakdown with a look at arguably the biggest position battle on the roster at tight end. First, we'll take a look at who returns to Green Bay after playing for the team in 2013. Four players return at the position, but only one played a key role in the offense. The biggest story may be the fact that the promising career of Jermichael Finley appears to be in jeopardy, and his replacement for the foreseeable future is not exactly set in stone as the starter.
#81 Andrew Quarless
6'4, 252 pounds
How Acquired: Fifth-round selection in 2010
2014 Contract Terms (Signed two-year, $3M contract on March 13.)
$350,000 signing bonus, $200,000 annual roster bonuses, $75,000 annual workout bonuses
2014 -- $800,000 base salary, $1.25M cap hit
2015 -- $1.3M base salary, $1.75M cap hit
16 games played, 10 games started
32 receptions for 312 yards and two touchdowns
Quarless finally recovered from the horrific knee injury he suffered in 2011 to become an every game contributor for the Packers in 2013. His role expanded substantially when Finley went down with a neck injury in Week 7 against the Browns, and he was often hit or miss as a run blocker. Quarless is considered the most balanced tight end on the team, but his lack of playmaking ability can limit the offense's firepower at times. If Quarless can become a bigger playmaker in the passing game, and add some power to his run blocking technique, he will not only secure a starting spot, but likely put up impressive numbers within the Packers offense.
#82 Ryan Taylor
6'3, 254 pounds
How Acquired: Seventh-round selection (2011)
2014 Contract Terms (Signed four-year, $2.099M contract on July 28, 2011)
2014 -- $645,000 base salary, $659,794 cap hit
2015 - Free Agent
6 receptions, 30 yards
Taylor was used primarily as a special teams contributor, but made appearances as the second tight end in some packages after the Finley injury. Taylor is limited athletically, but his size makes him a valuable blocker in the run game. Taylor had a few noticeable drops last season, but did make a few tough catches in traffic as well. His spot on the team may come down to how well he preforms in training camp as a pass catcher.
#85 Jake Stoneburner
6'3, 249 pounds
How Acquired: Undrafted free agent; placed on practice squad; later promoted to active roster
2014 Contract Term (Signed three-year, $1.485M contract on October 15, 2013)
2014 -- $495,000 base salary
2015 -- $585,000 base salary
2016 - Restricted Free Agent
9 games, no starts
Stoneburner is the least likely of the four returning players to make the 53-man roster this fall. He struggled in the preseason last year, and didn't make much of a splash on special teams once he was promoted to the active roster in October. He will have to have to make noticeable strides during training camp for the team to consider keeping him around.
#86 Brandon Bostick
6'3, 250 pounds
How Acquired: Undrafted Free Agent, 2012, assigned to practice squad; made active roster in 2013
2014 Contract Terms (Signed three-year, $1.485M contract on January 14, 2013)
2014 -- $495,000
2015 -- $585,000
2016 - Restricted Free Agent
11 games, zero starts
7 receptions, 120 yards, 1 touchdown
I believe Bostick has the biggest upside potential of any tight end on the roster. He has the athletic ability to be a playmaking threat and keep defenses honest in the seam, and has enough size to be a reliable run blocker as well. The key for Bostick is to shore up his deficiencies in run blocking technique, and prove he is more than just an oversized wide receiver.