Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press
Even if Ted Thompson wanted to fill the need for a starting tight end through free agency, the pickings are becoming slim.
After two days into the new NFL league year, many of the big-name tight ends have been franchised or signed. The New Orleans Saints placed the franchise tag on Jimmy Graham and the Baltimore Ravens re-signed Dennis Pitta.
Non-top tier players who nonetheless could start are signing as well; the Arizona Cardinals re-signed Jake Ballard and the New England Patriots re-signed Michael Hoomanawanui.
Of course, the biggest-name free agent is still Jermichael Finley, who visited with the Seattle Seahawks Wednesday, per NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. He hasn't yet been medically cleared to play, and it seems the Packers will let him walk.
Other free-agent tight ends Green Bay could consider are the Texans' Owen Daniels, set to visit with the Packers Thursday, the Lions' Brandon Pettigrew or the Dolphins' Dustin Keller, but in each case they would have to allot a large portion of the cap to older players; Myers is entering his sixth season, Pettigrew, his fifth and Keller, his seventh.
Then there's the outside possibility that they retain Andrew Quarless, who has received interest from seven other teams, according to ESPN's Rob Demovsky. But he didn't quite prove in 2013 that he has the pass-catching skills and the ability to be the red-zone threat Aaron Rodgers needs to justify making an offer that would eclipse seven other teams'.
Draft-and-develop is Thompson's preferred method, and with the Packers' need moving forward at tight end, it makes the most sense financially.
Before Tuesday, there was a possibility the Packers could have filled needs for veteran defensive linemen and a safety through free agency, potentially freeing them up to consider taking a tight end as high as Round 1, with North Carolina's Eric Ebron or Texas Tech's Jace Amaro. And perhaps if they sign Miami's Chris Clemons at safety, they would be freed up to consider a skill position in the first round.
But more likely, the Packers would look to Rounds 2-4 for a starting tight end, such as Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Notre Dame's Troy Niklas or Iowa's C.J. Fiedorowicz. All three have great size and could be split out wide.