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Report: B.J. Raji Agrees to One-Year Deal with Packers

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Report: B.J. Raji Agrees to One-Year Deal with Packers

From Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Silverstein later tweeted that Raji's contract was worth $4 million and could include incentives, but exact details have not yet been released. Essentially, Raji accepted a prove-it deal that provides him the opportunity to cash in free agency next season with a big year.

With fellow big-bodied defensive linemen Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly also testing the free agent market, the Packers needed a player capable of playing on run downs to complement the pass rushers on the team like Mike Daniels and Datone Jones.

If Pickett doesn't resign with the Packers--and perhaps even if he does--it's possible a full-time move to nose tackle could be in store for Raji, where he might be a more consistent force for the Packers defense.

Evidence comes in the form of the Packers' Super Bowl season in 2010 when Raji more frequently played the zero-technique position head up on the center, having a career-season with 39 tackles, 6.5 sacks and three passes defensed, not to mention his postseason heroics. His interception return for a touchdown in the NFC Championship win over the Chicago Bears remains Raji's signtature moment.

It was a steep dropoff in production for Raji the most recently completed season when he had just 17 tackles and didn't come up with a single sack. Raji's last sack came in November of 2011.

The argument can be made that Raji could also use a reduction in playing time as part of a heavier rotation that would help him conserve energy and prevent him from wearing down. Raji has played at least 666 snaps in each of the past four season, according to ProFootballFocus.com (premium content).

Where Raji's signings leaves the Packers in their interest of free agent defensive linemen Vance Walker and Latroy Guion is up for speculation. Reports have said both were scheduled to come to Green Bay on visits.

Until they sign elsewhere, it's unlikely the door has been closed on Pickett, Jolly and C.J. Wilson as well.

Skeptics will point to Raji's poor play in 2013 in a contract season as reason to believe little will change this upcoming season, but one big difference could be that Raji overestimated his value on the open market and now knows he won't be able to cash in with another subpar season.

Keeping Raji for another season may also allow the Packers to avoid addressing the nose tackle position early in the draft, thereby freeing them up to add talent at bigger positions of need like safety or linebacker.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (29) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Zoellner25's picture

Not bad for a first free agent contract after being a top 10 pick. Oh wait, this is BJ Raji we are talking about. I think TT paid about 3.9 million too much.

Idiot Fan's picture

Raji was not good last year. But I'm willing to give him a year to see what he can do at NT. I'd like to hear a coach's explanation as to why they preferred him at DE though.

DrealynWilliams's picture

I'd like to hear/read an explanation as well. Especially seeing/knowing what he's capable of at that position (NT).

4thand1's picture

You'll have to ask Capers that one. I wonder if Capers is on a short leash?

Stroh's picture

Just my opinion, but it seems pretty obvious to me. They had 2 true NT and one of them had to play out of position since they didn't have any true 34 DE on the roster. Since Raji was more mobile than Pickett the decision was made to have Pickett at NT since he had no mobility and Raji at DE since he has more mobility.

I think it backfired and might have ruined Raji, but hopefully he'll rebound being back at NT. I don't think he would be back in GB if he was going to be forced to play DE again. He's a NT, Definitely NOT a 34 DE!

Seems like the only logical explanation to me, otherwise it made absolutely no sense to move Raji from NT after his exceptional '10 season at the position.

Evan's picture

I don't know if it was so much that they preferred Raji at DE as it was they preferred Pickett at NT.

4thand1's picture

Good point.

Stroh's picture

I think they wanted the one w/ the most mobility at DE. Raji was excellent at NT in '10, I can't imagine Pickett playing NT better than Raji did that season. One of them had to play out of position so the one that had more mobility, which is an under-rated 34 DE trait IMO, had to move. That was Raji.

Tarynfor12's picture

The moment we start to see Raji anywhere but at NT,will be the beginning of the 'new' end in Green Bay for him.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I'm fine with this as long as he plays nose tackle.

That said, I hope TT doesn't think having the same defense as last year is going to cut it. We need a veteran Safety, not necessarily an expensive one. Just a solid veteran to play until whatever rookie is really ready. Someone who can play well enough that they can be in cover one at least some of the time.

HankScorpio's picture

Trgo has his work cut out for him motivating Raji. Maybe the Packers should give Trgo a motivational speaker to be assistant DL coach/Raji Whisperer.

The Packers definitely needed a NT. They still might.

Idiot Fan's picture

Raji is on a one-year deal and just got humiliated by the market. I'm hoping that will be a decent motivator for him.

4thand1's picture

If Raji can't get motivated in a contract year, when can you? Hopefully he'll play lights out this year if he wants to get paid. Not a good sign. I remember he seemed to be everywhere for a big guy in 2010.

Jordan's picture

I don't think it's entirely motivation. He's just not that good. He's not a superstar like everybody wants to believe.

4thand1's picture

NT's rarely are considered "superstar" . All the fans pay attention to are sacks. If your an outstanding run stuffer, who cares? Not many teams run between the tackles anymore.

Stroh's picture

He played like a Superstar in '10 at NT! He was forced to play out of position at DE the past couple years. Hopefully that didn't ruin him. I expect a very good year from him at his natural NT position!

RC Packer Fan's picture

I really like this signing. I think it's a good move for both. The biggest thing is Raji has to play nose. That is his natural position.

Imma Fubared's picture

Wow. Ted offered 4 mil, fatso turned it down, found out no one wanted him, no one called, everyone saw the game films and said hell no, and so he calls Ted and dummy gives him the same deal. Now that is that a brain on drugs if not it should be.

4thand1's picture

So your saying no way he can preform like 2010 when he played NT, not DE like this year. That's on Capers , playing him out of position.

Stroh's picture

You truly ARE Fubared! Just go away already.

gary's picture

4th and 1 Is that a picture of two embalmed people next to your name. Someone should let you know you died.

4thand1's picture

That's me with Drew Brees at a super Bowl party 2011. Suck it! Got to see the Pack win it all. Met a lot of players that night. They were all cool.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Hate this deal. We paid the fat slob. If he really turned down $8 million and a long term deal, then he is not very bright, either. Has he fired his agent? TT offered $4 million before free agency, then no one wants him, and we still pay $4 million? Makes you wonder if Nix is off GB's draft board due to medicals. I would rather pay Pickett $2.5 million than pay anything for the blob. I expect that next year Raji will get blown off the line so far and so consistently that the national sportscasters will think he is playing ILB for the packers.

Vrog's picture

Hilarious!

ballark's picture

Love this deal. A motivated Raji with a new chip on his shoulder, still in his prime, back at nose (the key), with young budding talent around him in Daniels, Boyd, and hopefully Worthy and Jones? Add a healthy Johnny Jolly and I'm liking our defensive front next year.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Also the Packers just signed Julius peppers.

4thand1's picture

Funny if you only read the comments by some of these assclown posters, you'd think the Packers were 0-16 every year.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Add Julius Peppers to the mix!!!

VApackerfan's picture

Show me what you got Raji

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