B.J. Raji Close to One-Year Deal with Packers

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B.J. Raji

B.J. Raji

Defensive tackle B.J. Raji was supposed to be on his way out of town via free agency. Now it looks like that won’t happen. Adam Schefter is reporting the Green Bay Packers and Raji are close to striking a one-year deal that will keep Raji around for 2014.

The offer is reportedly for $4 million, which seems logical for both parties.

After turning down an $8 million per year extension during the season, Raji probably figured out pretty quickly he wouldn’t be in demand on the free agent market. That’s what happens when a guy plays terribly in his contract year, which is exactly what Raji did in 2013.

He registered just 17 tackles and had no sacks for the second straight season. The best thing you can say about the former first-round pick is he’s a wide body.

By signing a one-year deal, Raji can go out and try to prove himself, become a free agent next year and, in his mind, get the money he’s seeking.

For the Packers, there’s minimal risk involved with a one-year contract. If Raji suddenly plays great, that’s super. If he lays another turd of a season, then he’ll be welcome to leave next year.

Re-signing Raji also helps clear up the defensive line picture. The Packers have four free agent defensive linemen, including nose tackle Ryan Pickett. That leaves Josh Boyd as the only potential nose tackle currently under contract.

Raji played defensive end in 2013, but his natural position is in the middle. Re-signing him means the Packers will have the middle of their defensive line taken care of for the 2014 season.

About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

42 Comments on "B.J. Raji Close to One-Year Deal with Packers"

  1. RW

    Everyone once in awhile you write a piece and I go “Huh??? . If anyone with a smidgen of football sense took in Raji’s play the last two years you saw all you needed to see…he does nothing and I mean nothing. I shouldn’t have to remind you that he was playing last year for a contract and look at what he produced. He’s not even worth the minimum salary. If you think the signing of Raji takes care of the middle of the defense for 2014 well then , I’d like to share with you this new work at home opportunity where you can make $15,000 per month!

    • Abe Frohman

      Couldn’t agree with you more. Of all the wide bodies from last years “defense”, I’d rather have Pickett in the middle.

    • Patrick Tompkins

      Agreed. Raji was horrible and somehow giving him millions is the answer?? This can only turn out bad for the Packers.. how you ask? 1) He plays really well and demands a giant contract, which we won’t be able to afford and will have to let him go or 2) He sucks and we let him go because of the before mentioned suckiness.

  2. Shawn Iltarion

    It is strange how Packer fans have amnesia regarding the first third of last season, when BJ Raji, Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly and AJ Hawk were tearing it up and the Packers were third in the league in run defense.

    A one year deal would be perfect because it gives Raji a one year trial period to prove he can be an effective nose tackle, a position we have not been allowing him to play for the past couple years.

    It is his natural position. You give him a shot there, and if it doesn’t work out, there is no downside to benching him or cutting him.

    • Patrick Tompkins

      So we are paying players for a third of the season? That’s not even a “glass is half full” attitude.

      The downside to signing him for $3-$4Million is that we could use that money to sign someone else that will contribute. Isn’t Tight Ass Ted’s motto to never overpay a player? Doesn’t make sense…Raji is not even average. He had one good year, and one awesome dance move in Chicago and has been a phantom ever since.

      • Chad Lundberg

        Lol, it’s like you guys have forgotten how football works or something. If he played well for a stretch, that proves he can produce. Finley had two mediocre to bad years but turned it around in 2013 (until he got injured of course).

        It’s very simple, he’s a NT. Remove him from that position and the production drops off. Move him back, and the production should come back. For $4 mil, I’d say it’s worth it.

        Good players have bouts of poor play all the time, and Raji’s is exceptionally bad, but until you have some argument to refute why he couldn’t produce back in the NT position I feel your opinion falls flat.

    • GBslacker

      I find it more strange that you have amnesia about the last two-thirds of the season — when the fore-mentioned guys were getting run over, or getting no pressure!

    • Abe Frohman

      so….if you were in a 3 mile race and were leading after the first mile, but then hit the wall and finished last, was it a good race?

  3. lars

    So, he failed miserably the past two years and TT decides to keep him at probably $5-6 M for another season? Same with keeping Capers, Burnett and Hawk. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    Yes, there’s “minimal risk”, but how does this help improve the defense? All it does is eat up cap space that could be used on a free agent…never mind, that’s the point. When you sign your own under performers you never have to swim in those free agent waters.

    • TyKo Steamboat

      I agree with you about Burnett….
      Capers…kinda (he gets a pass because we won a Superbowl with him but I’d rather run a 4-3 with Greg Schiano calling the defense)

      But Hawk produces & stay on the field. Raji will actually play hard for this one season for 4 million $. We’re basically renting him for 1 season.

      Bottom line is: You need a big NT in a 3-4 & that’s what Raji is. His job is to basically occupy 2 blockers. Not appear on the stat sheet.

  4. Sean

    Raji = Dumbass…. turning down 8 million with 20 mill guaranteed.

    Hearing his contract might be for 4 million for one year.

  5. Arcturus

    “…the Packers will have the middle of their defensive line taken care of for the 2014 season.” ARE YOU SERIOUS? I cannot believe you would write such a sentence based on your sentiments about Raji for the past 6 months!

  6. Dave

    The job of a NT in a 3-4 defense is to eat up blocks, not make tackles. Picket only had 19 tackles. Raji actually had more run stuffs, according to ESPN/Elias.

    A real measure of his play would be to see how many runs were allowed up the middle. Or to watch film to see how often he was double-teamed.

  7. E. Wolf

    In the past I defended our urcine friend and good steward, the Polar Bear, asserting that he offered that ludicrous deal knowing Raji would decline it. Maybe him and those general manager guys really know a lot more then we do but in hindsight, it really beggars belief that he would turn it down. Still, I am sticking to it–namely that PB made the offer knowing there was no chance it would accepted, as he did with that douchebag Gregor.
    Iltarion makes a good point. I think 4 mil would be too much, however.

  8. RW

    THE POINT IS THAT RAJI DOESN”T EAT UP BLOCKERS!!! He plays patty cake at the line of scrimmage. I guess if his job is to dance with one lineman and not make tackles and sacks then we have our man. And I love the fans that bring up the first third of the season rush defense (like we had the steel curtain for 4 games)…During that span the defense gave up 4.17 yards per carry. Wow! Years from now you can still reminisce about those first four games of 2013 where Hawk, Raji and the gang held the opposition to 4.17…maybe you all can make t-shirts with that unbelievable feat.

    • E. Wolf

      Patty cake, patty cake bakers man. Bake me a cake as fast as you can. What in the world do you have against PATTY CAKE. Who does not love to play patty cake?

    • E. Wolf

      Seriosuly though, was it 4.17? I wonder if one game blew the average. I do recall them shutting Adrian Peterson down cold, and other games where the opponent’s run game was anemic. ..

  9. GBslacker

    He’s at an age where he could try harder — but doesn’t.

    He’ll soon be at an age where he could try harder — and can’t.

    Leery of this guy as he approaches 30.

    Very leery of what this says about the Packers’ management.

    No confidence in re-signing current guy for the long term.

    No confidence in anything on the roster being able to replace him.

    And what about “accountability” ?
    — no impact plays, while averaging ONE tackle per game.
    — and if stats aren’t important, and he’s absorbing blocks — then somebody should be having a Pro Bowl season!

    Something stinks.

    Offense + multiple/major injuries ranks no.3
    Defense + multiple/major injuries ranks no.25

  10. RW

    I must apologize for my previous statistics on the first 4 games of the Packers rush defense. They actually were much better than 4.17 per yard in those games. They actually gave up 3.65 per carry in that period and 3.37 for the first five games of the year.

  11. the real russ letlow

    don’t know what to think here. Raji had a contract year to prove himself worthy of a big contract and failed to do so. Would another shot to do the same be different? If he played exclusively at NT, versus a majority of 3 -4 DE, would he be better? I’d defer to coach Trgovac on that one. But a one year reasonable $$ contract isn’t a killer. And as a team, you prepare for his play to be equal to last year. If he sucks, play a rookie or young guy. It would end the arguement of “he wasn’t playing his best/natural position.”

  12. TyKo Steamboat

    Hate to say this but for a 3-4 style, you need a big NT. I was hoping we’d make a move at that Paul Soliai from the Dolphins.

    But we actually need this guy. I was hoping we’d get him with a 2 yr. deal but I’ll take 1.

    My other 2 reasonable free agents would be Asante Samuel for a 2 yr. deal & Tyson Jackson, DT from K.C.

    We still need a TE, MLB & S.

  13. nurseratchett@work

    This is likely a foreshadowing that TT has no plans to make big moves in free agency.

    Lets hope this is the result of the testing of the free-agency waters & not getting even a nibble–maybe THAT will get Raji up & moving.

  14. GBslacker

    Ryan Pickett will turn 35 early next season.

    Johnny Jolly is coming off a severe neck injury, and has to be a question mark.

    CJ Wilson, in the last year of his contract, had a fraction of the starts/snaps as compared to previous seasons.

    And with these factors in his favor, this is all that Raji can negotiate?

    To come back to a system where he hasn’t thrived for the past two years?

    It seems like a desperate maneuver by both parties.

  15. ferris

    I like this move if it is true. I seem to remember a lot of armchair GMs last year saying get rid of Mason Crosby, I was one of them. Raji is a big guy that is fairly athletic for a cheap price he is worth a shot for another year.

  16. GBslacker

    I saw a comment on another site that intimated that this could be the beginning of the end of Capers and the 3-4.

    IMO, after drafting Raji and Matthews, the Packers haven’t made much headway on developing the prototypical 3-4 defense, by acquiring the preferred body-types at DE and OLB.

    No big deal if they move away from it.

  17. Shawn Iltarion

    Lets forget this “first third” business and simplify it by just looking at the first half of the season.

    Through the first half of the season, 8 games, the Packer defense gave up 94.5 yards per game on the ground. That average at the end of the season would rank the Packers #4 in the NFL against the run.

    So, through the first half of the season the Packers ranked in the Top 5 run defenses.

    And no, I haven’t forgotten about how shitty the Packers’ run defense was for the 2nd half, which is exactly why just a one year deal with no dead money is a great option for the Packers.

    Raji still has the size and quickness that you are looking for at the NT position. He just lacks desire or technique or both. He has short arms and doesn’t get off blocks well. BUT he has shown he can be a disruptive force for a stretch of 6 games or so, like he was at the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013.

  18. Howard

    Raji is not wanting a one year deal. Raj’s agent leaked this to the talking heads at ESPN so they could put the value out to other teams and see who contacts them. It saves on phone calls. Same thing happened with Shields and his agent.

    This is just negotiations. Would not be surprised that Raji is leveraging for a two or three year deal at a larger average salary than indicated with a signing bonus (guaranteed money).

  19. What happened after the first third of the season? Seriously?? The best QB on the planet got hurt. Does time of possession mean anything to you guys??

  20. NO!!! Dont understand the Packers fascination with paying sub par players (Raji, Hawk, Jones, Burnett, Williams). The middle of the D on all levels sucks. Start rebuilding the D this year, and maybe Arog will have a shot at another trophy before retirement.

    • TyKo Steamboat

      Hawk & Williams are not “overpaid”

      & Raji will earn his keep for the 1 season. Let’s just wish him good health.

  21. vj

    Linval Joseph would have been a better signing. Pickett is too old and even less upside or effectiveness when compared to a younger player like Raji.

    This is stubborn old Ted being stubborn yet again…playing favorites with his high draft choices and not willing to cut bait and move on.

    • Shawn Iltarion

      No, it is called guys 340 with BJ’s quickness are tough to find.

      I like Joseph, but I doubt he is stout enough to hold down the NT in a 3-4.

  22. I think his biggest problem has been the guys playing beside hime the last couple of years. Pickett doesnt have the
    legs to play de..so they move him to de..where he gets pushed all over the field. Raji has to take on the double team all game and gets worn out by middle of 3rd qtr. I also think jolly was injured earlier in the season..but..playedthrough it. Then you have clay being out..perry being injured and inconsistent..and noone else up front even capable of playing decent..get some better horses up front and hope if hes resigned that the dl holds up for more than 5 games

  23. Shawn Iltarion

    Raji hasn’t signed yet.

    So this report could mean exactly nothing. Might be just another negotiation tool, which has been suggested.

    I have no idea why Raji would sign a couple days before the start of free agency. You’ve come this far. You might as well see what the market has to offer.

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