Quick-hit thoughts on the Patriots & around the NFL. http://t.co/L0jjrnbC5SThe big difference here is that Finley's a starter, who's coming off a strong season according to Mike McCarthy. The Packers decided to keep him last March at his scheduled salary, when they could have released or traded him.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) June 30, 2013
On the other hand, Williams is a former 5th round pick who's done little in his first two seasons. Which is why he might be available.
As I wrote back in May, the Packers seem to have too many tight ends. TE Andrew Quarless has recovered from his 2011 ACL injury and he has the potential to excel as a blocker and receiver. He could be better than Finley next season. With Quarless and Finley at the top of the depth chart, there are only so many backup spots behind them, and I haven't seen any reason why Williams (who's a receiver, not a blocker) should be guaranteed one.
So the Packers could be expected to release Williams by the end of training camp anyway. If the Patriots had scouted Williams out of college, and liked what they saw, they could be interested in trading a late round pick now to add depth. If the Packers are thinking Williams is on the bubble, they might be interested in a late round pick now instead of nothing if he were released after the preseason.
I'm guessing that the Patriots won't make any sudden move to replace Hernandez. They'll have the entire preseason to watch other players around the league, players like Williams, and they can see who they like and which team might have too many good players to keep. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Patriots actually show interest in Williams after the preseason is over.