The deal is for two years, a source said.
For the second time in four seasons, a season-ending injury to Jermichael Finley thrust Quarless into the role of No. 1 tight end. During an inconsistent comeback season, Quarless caught 32 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns in 16 games.
Among the 37 tight ends who played at least 50 percent of the snaps, Quarless ranked 17th with a catch percentage of 69.6, 31st with 9.8 yards per reception and 26th with 4.4 yards after the catch per reception, according to ProFootballFocus.com. Among the 41 tight ends who had the most passes thrown in their direction, Quarless ranked 13th with a drop rate of 5.88 percent.
Quarless' play was up and down, which probably should have been expected considering he missed the end of 2011 and all of 2012 with a major knee injury. He had back-to-back games of six receptions — the first time a Packers tight end had consecutive games of at least six catches since Jackie Harris in 1992. However, in the 11 games in which Finley was sidelined (including playoffs), Quarless had one or two catches in eight of them.
"I think that he's got a ways to go. He's more in the tank," tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot said at the end of the season. "We've talked about that during the season. There were certain aspects of the run blocking that we need to improve that, and I felt like he made strides in that area. Just being more consistent was the biggest challenge. I think that overall, his body strength is not where it was before he got injured – at least that's my observation."
It will be interesting to see the next domino to fall at a position that's highlighted by coach Mike McCarthy. It's hard to imagine the team going into training camp with Quarless as its No. 1 tight end. The others on the roster — Brandon Bostick, Ryan Taylor, Jake Stoneburner and offseason addition Raymond Webber — have a combined 15 career receptions and only Taylor (seventh round, 2011) was even drafted.
The team has given no hints on if it'll make a pitch to keep Finley — or even if its medical staff would clear him to play. Free agent Owen Daniels, who visited Green Bay on Wednesday, is visiting the Redskins on Thursday.
Garrett Graham, who like Daniels was a former Wisconsin standout, signed a three-year deal worth $11.25 million to remain with the Texans. He had been linked to the Packers after catching 49 passes for 545 yards and five touchdowns in 2013.
Meanwhile, according to ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky, Neal's two-year deal is worth up to $8 million. It includes a $2.5 million signing bonus and has cap numbers of $3.75 million in 2014 and $4.25 million in 2015.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.