Packer Update

‘Quarlstick’ Could Be Finley’s Replacement

Young Brandon Bostick could be part of a two-headed monster at tight end in 2013

Young Brandon Bostick could be part of a two-headed monster at tight end in 2013

If the Green Bay Packers decide to part ways with tight end Jermichael Finley, the assumption is that GM Ted Thompson would either sign a replacement in free agency or draft one in April. But I’m not so sure about that. I think Finley’s successor, or should I say successors, might already be on the roster.

The more video I watch from the 2010 and 2011 seasons and the more I study my notes from last summer’s training camp, the more I’m starting to believe that the combination of veteran Andrew Quarless and young Brandon Bostick might be the answer at tight end. Let’s call this player Andron Quarlstick.

Quarless missed all of this past season while recovering from a torn ACL suffered in December 2011, but he’s expected to be fully healthy come July. If so, the former Penn State standout would provide the running game with a tight end capable of whipping a defender at the line of scrimmage – something neither Finley nor Tom Crabtree were able to do on a consistent basis in 2012. Quarless did that time after time prior to his injury. He’s also an adequate receiver, but catching passes wouldn’t be his top priority.

That’s where Bostick would come in. The former college wide receiver spent this past season on the practice squad after flashing intriguing raw potential on the practice field last summer. Bostick wasn’t ready for the NFL then, and there’s no guarantee he’ll be ready in six months, but he certainly has the physical skills needed to catch passes at this level. He runs well (4.6), and unlike D.J. Williams, he seems to have a knack for getting open. Bostick dropped some balls, but that might’ve been a result of thinking too much. He made enough difficult catches look easy to make me believe his hands won’t be an issue.

Would it be a gamble to release Finley and rely on a player coming off a serious injury and a player coming off the practice squad? Of course, but remember, the Packers raced to the Super Bowl in 2010 without a major presence at tight end. That offense was able to score plenty of points by running the ball, protecting the quarterback and relying on its three quality wide receivers. That formula could work again.

Plus, it’s not as if the Packers would be bereft of talent at the position should Finley be sent packing next month. Besides Quarless and Bostick, youngsters Crabtree, Williams and Ryan Taylor would still be around. And the draft is loaded with interesting tight ends who figure to be available on days two and three.

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15 Comments to "‘Quarlstick’ Could Be Finley’s Replacement"

  1. Archie says:

    Finley will want a $50 MM contract next year. Unless TT is prepared to meet his demands, why keep him this year at an inflated price when you could that money to use for a quality defensive player in FA? The scenario you outline – Quarlstick – sounds like typical TT value approach. GMs have to pay for greatness but anytime they pay for non-greatness, they are making a big mistake in the salary cap era. We have two great players on this team and we all know who they are. The task at hand is simple, find a third and a fourth. Then we can talk about another SB. We have 51 average to good players. Replacing average to good players with average to good players is not the answer. We need two special players on each side of the ball. We currently have one. Jennings, before his two injury plagued seasons, was arguably a difference maker. Woodson also was during the SB year. Ditto Collins, Williams and even Starks for that 6 or 7 game run. Maybe Cobb is worthy of being Jennings-esque. At this stage of AROD’s career, and CMIII, TT has got to begin to gamble on greatness. If it ain’t great, don’t pay it, and keep searching for greatness. We need at least two more.

    • John Zoul says:

      Finley came on towards the end of last year, however, let’s face it, he is not great. Does not have breakaway speed and is only an adequate blocker. Trade him and move on. Archie makes some valid points. Finley is not in the same class as Jimmy Graham, Gronkowski, Tony Gonzalez, and the stud from San Fran, Vernon Davis. He has not earned big money and was way over-paid for last year. Time to trade him or cut him loose…

  2. Archie says:

    Here’s a simple idea: use Finley’s money to re-sign Jennings. Jennings played a major role in our SB win and has had a great career in GB. He is Packer people, his sister notwithstanding. Finley had one good game against AZ several years ago.

    • wery121 says:

      Finley is absolutely overpaid, but I don’t think we cut him. A trade is possible but I doubt there will be any takers. He’ll walk next year and we’ll probably get a 4th round comp pick for him. I like the idea of using Finely’s money to resign Jennings but it’s not that easy. GJ is going to ask for 5 years – 75M. He won’t get anywhere near that but we’d still have to outbid the Vikings and Dolphins for him. The worst part is those expensive contract years would line up with CM3′s and ARod’s.
      We’ve got Finley for only 1 year at ~8.5M. So the question is – is it worth cutting Finley when we can afford him and losing out on a comp pick? If we’re using the money for a stud defensive player, I’d say yes but we all know the odds of TT actually pulling the trigger on something like that. Thus, I think we see #88 for another year.
      The only other scenario I see happening is letting Finley go and using the $ to resign CM3 with a major cap hit in yr1. That would help ease the pain of the 20M/yr ARod contract coming down the pipe.

      • Terdell Middleton says:

        I agree we need another stud on both sides of the ball. Maybe with Cobb, Nelson, Finley, we have enough on offense. But I think we need a stud RB.

        On defense, after Matthews, I don’t see one. Perry, Raji, Burnett, Heyward, Bishop, etc. are all good. We really need a stud there.

        But if we just go with this “stud” theory, we’d be copying the Bears, right? They had Urlacher, Briggs, Tillman. So they added Cutler, Peppers, Marshall. Maybe Forte falls in that category. The studs alone were not enough – and some studs, namely Peppers and Cutler, didn’t fully pan out to be the studs they were thought (and paid) to be. It’s not as simple as you say it is.

  3. Lou says:

    Great to see someone that has done their homework to this level instead of the standard fluff columns, my compliments. I am an avid fan, born in Green Bay and played running back at the high school, college, military (all Marine team – Quantico) Marines and semi-pro levels in the Central States League. I live in Kohler, WI and attend many practices besides being a season ticket holder. I though I was the only one impressed with Bostick but I am pleased that is not the case. Quarless has all the attributes and he was maturing as a person when he was injured and remember, they won the Super Bowl with him when Finley was out. If he is healthy and Bostick emerges as we think he can that would be a plus for the Packers. It would be hard to depend on the others, Crabtree looks the part of a tough in line blocker but Pro Football Focus rated him the worst TE blocker on the team and D.J. Williams looks like a bust, how did he win the Mackey Award, he can’t even catch a 5 yard hitch in the pros. The others are just special team guys. I like your combo, we won a Super Bowl with a combo tight end package, Jackson & Chumura. Great piece, hopefully we can go back to it when it happens and get your due.

  4. Michael Rodney says:

    It’s no Sophie’s Choice, but Ted has a very difficult decsion to make on Finley. He’s clearly not worth the money, but can the offense afford to lose 2 of its top 5 pass receivers in the same offseason? My gut tells me Finley will be back, but I wouldn’t be surprised either way.

    • Lou says:

      Here is the factors for Thompson’s business decisino;

      Salary for 2013 = approx. $8M give or take performance bonus options.

      Performance Evaluation = season rating: minus-1.5 (No. 15 out of 24 on Packers offense; No. 42 out of 62 among NFL tight ends)

      The only heart felt business decision I have seen Ted make was bringing back Driver for another year, this man is all business.

      • Terdell Middleton says:

        You’re right, Lou, that TT is all business. And shortly after our season ended, I thought cutting Finley and using that cap space to keep G Jennings made sense. But as wery121 explained, I think Ted’s equation will cause him to bring Finley back. TT needs cap space in 2014 and beyond for ARod, Raji, and CMIII, but he can afford Finley in 2013. Also, TT values those compensatory picks for free agent losses. I expect us to keep Finley for a year and let him go in FA next year, getting another year for Bostick and DJ to develop, and then taking the extra pick in exchange for the loss of Finley next year.

  5. Alex says:

    The Packers will, without a doubt, release: (1) Woodson (too expensive/too fragile); (2) A.J. Hawk (old and slow); (3) Jennings (too expensive/not worth the price of an A-list FA); and (4) Finley (great talent/great player but head case who’s not the same page with anyone other than Dr. Phil).

    The Packers desperately need help in four places: (1) D-line, (2) O-line, (3) OLB (need a fly-to-the -QB complement to Matthews (Perry and Moses are definitely not that guy); and (4) RB.

    Releasing the aforementioned players frees up some cap space, but the Packers still need to trade at least one and possibly two players to pick up some draft choices. Were it me, I’d trade Jordy Nelson in a heartbeat. The guy makes Waterford crystal look like an Abrams M1A1 tank. Nelson probably gets you a 2d rounder, possibly a late 1st. Nelson has great speed but is clearly replaceable. I would also trade or release every running back not named Dujuan Harris.

    • wery121 says:

      If Woodson takes a paycut I think he stays. I’m not saying it’s the right decision but we’re losing a lot of veteran leadership (DD, GJ, Hawk) and I’m not sure TT wants to let go of another team leader.

      I agree we need some help in the trenches and at LB. I’d add ILB and S to your list as well. We’re weak in the middle. That’s a big difference between us and SF. SF is fast and violent in the middle of the field. They flow to the ball fast and force turnovers. We’re pretty slow to the ball and drag tacklers down. This is a big reason TEs and backs have hurt us in the passing game for years.

      I don’t want to see Hawk, Jones/Smith, MD Jennings, or CJ Wilson start for the Pack in 2013. I wouldn’t argue with a RB but I’m not expecting it. Our run blocking would’ve made it impossible for anyone other than AP to suceed. I’d rather hope to improve the line and defense to improve the running game. If that doesn’t work, then let ARod carry us like always.

      There’s no way we trade Jordy for a bunch of reasons. He’s Packer People. Unloading GJ, Finley (as you suggest) and Nelson, is far too much receiving talent to replace in 1 year. Plus Jordy is 1 year removed from one of the best receiving years in Packer history and only making 4M.

  6. John Mesich says:

    You can get all of the studs you want on defense, but until you get a defensive coordinator that knows how to call and adapt in a game, might as well save your money. Again, the definition of insanity is keeping Capers. Got to go

  7. Mark says:

    Finley has done nothing to justify the kind of money it will take to re-sign him. Let him go and focus on developing the other tight ends on the roster. As for the draft, I’m always for drafting the best player available, rather than trying to fill a need you might not even have by the time that player is ready to make an impact.

  8. Peter says:

    Great comments on here… Long time reader… first time poster! excellent analysis

  9. Michael Rodney says:

    Welcome aboard. The more the merrier.

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