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Packers Will Gamble with B.J. Raji

B.J. Raji

Roll the dice! That’s what Gamblin’ Ted and the Green Bay Packers are going to do with B.J. Raji. Ian Rapoport reports the Packers will not extend Raji and instead make him play out the final year of his rookie deal.

So the Packers are going to make Raji, who’s coming off a fairly lackluster 2012 season, earn that big contract. That’s exactly the uncomfortable part of that statement though. Big, long-term payday.

The Packers already gave Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews a couple big, long-term paydays. Those deals are relatively cap friendly, but you have to wonder how many more big, long-term paydays the team can absorb.

Raji will make more than $6 million this season between a $4.49 million base salary and $1.625 million in bonuses. His average salary over his rookie deal was $5.4 million. Right now, Raji could probably command around $8 million per season.

If he has a huge 2013, that number goes up to $10 million or more annually.

If that’s the case, it leaves the Packers with two options.

1. Let Raji walk.

2. Give Raji that money and cut it out elsewhere.

Want some prime candidates to get dumped if the Packers have to pay Raji $10 million or more annually?

I’d LOVE to say A.J. Hawk, but if the Packers get rid of him next season, they’re still stuck with $3.2 million in dead money even after restructuring his deal this offseason. The actual savings from releasing Hawk before next season would only be around $1 million.

At the top of the list is Ryan Pickett. This is the final year of Pickett’s deal — one that will pay him more than $6 million this season. Although he was the Packers best defensive lineman in 2012, Pickett will be 34 this season and you know how Gamblin’ Ted feels about old guys.

See: Charles Woodson, Cullen Jenkins.

The Packers should be well stocked on the defensive line as well. You and they should expect Jerel Worthy to step into a starting role and live up to his potential by his third season. Add him to Mike Daniels, C.J. Wilson, Datone Jones, Mike Neal, etc. and it looks like the writing is on the wall for Pickett.

Second on the list is Tramon Williams. Cornerback is a position the Packers are set at with or without Williams. In 2014 — the final year of his deal — Williams is set to earn $6.9 million. Releasing Williams will cost the team $2 million in dead money, but it will also free up more than $5 million in cap space.

So there. We just did the work for you, Ted. You’re welcome.

[schema type=”person” name=”B.J. Raji” orgname=”Green Bay Packers” ]

Monty McMahon

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



  1. GBslacker June 4, 2013

    Two years ago, when Rodgers, Matthews, Jennings, and Raji **had** to be re-signed I thought receivers were the only stocked commodity on the team, and the only spot where the Packers could afford not to re-sign someone. Geez… back in the day, you’d really be word-slapped for suggesting that notion, much less staunchly defending it.

    I’m beginning to get behind that idea with Raji. He won’t be getting any faster, stronger, quicker, better, or younger. In fact, he could disappear like Hawk, especially after a fat contract. Seriously, if he was so great, why have him play out his contract? The great ones get re-signed early.

    I think he suffers from the T-Rex syndrome: he’s got a great big ass, and big legs — but his arms are short. As a result, longer-armed oLinemen can latch onto him and neutralize him.

    Sure his stats are lackluster — which everyone excuses as an interior, 3-4 defensive lineman. But if he’s really so great, why aren’t the linebackers tearin’ shit up? where’s their great play, if Raji is taking one for the team?

    I think the Pack have apeshit money tied-up in Rodgers and Matthews already. I think big bucks tied up in Raji would skew things for a few years. Rodgers is 29. Matthews is 27. They need to wait a couple of years before they shell out major cash — and stagger not only the payouts, but the ages of the players.

    I could foresee Raji letting up in the first year or two of his new contract, and then not having much left in the tank, as he hits 30, in the later part of his contract.

    1. Phatgzus June 4, 2013

      I think you’re forgetting about Bishop-he’s pretty damn good when healthy, D.J. Smith played well enough last year to get signed immediately after becoming a free agent as well. In addition, Raji lines up against Guards and Centers, one of the main reason an O-linemen becomes an interior player is short arm length (along with slower feet). Furthermore, Raji has 32″ arms, the average arm length of a professional DT is…32″. So much for T-Rex arms.

      1. GBslacker June 4, 2013

        I’m talking Raji…
        …not sure why you’re talking Bishop, or Smith.

        Raji was a high first-round guy that probably wants big money, like Matthews — most definitely contrasted to Bishop or Smith.

        If the arm-length is a wash, then his big ass should overpower some of these short-armed interior olinemen — not something I’m seeing.

        So, in closing, STFU…

        NOTE: Raji is Raji; Wilfork is Wilfork.

        1. Phatgzus June 4, 2013

          I agree Raji does not deserve a contract even remotely comprable to Matthews, let alone Rodgers.

          I brought up the 2 ILBs because you mention a LBs success in a 3-4 is highly dependent on the block acquisition of the D-linemen, hence, as Raji often lines up as our inside or nose tackle, his success will trickle down most to our ILBs. As those 2 ILBs have been quite successful (as was Jones) over the past 2 years, the above systematics being accepted, then Raji must be credited as well.

          Raji is indeed Raji and Wilfork is indeed Wilfork, this was merely a response to your arm-length conjecture, as both have the same arm length, and Wilfork has been massively successful (possibly a HoFer) this refutes your Tyrant Lizard King Theory.

          You also seem to be blissfully ignorant of the success Raji had in both penetration and holding his gap in the last 6 or 8 games of the season.

          No need to conclude with a STFU, you’re not intimidating anyone, we are fans of the same team with only minor differences in opinion, and it greatly detracts from the remnants of your statement.

    2. Phatgzus June 4, 2013

      Vince Wilfork has 32″ arms, how has he done in his career?

  2. Cheese June 4, 2013

    Gambling Ted doesn’t like old guys. You forgot Donald Driver and Brett Favre too.

  3. David June 4, 2013

    B J is just an average player. If he wants back in Green Bay then he will resign in the off season. If not then T.T. will draft another DT to fill his place. I thought B J was a play maker. But, he is not and play makers get big money in Green Bay. Don’t get me wrong he is a good guy but, an average player.

  4. Iltarion June 4, 2013

    Remember, the story can always change. The Packers have all year to monitor Raji’s performance and sign him to an extension if they choose to.

    They have the money for it, IF Ryan Pickett is on his way out.

    I think what Pickett does will have as much affect on Raji’s future as Raji’s performance does. If Pickett is clearly on his last legs, then you sign Raji to take his place starting next season. If you think you can get another year out of Pickett, then you take your chances in free agency.

  5. Buster Bluth June 4, 2013

    Smart move. Even if Raji has a “big” year, i don’t see them signing this guy for 10 mil. And since when is 6 mil a come down for a guy who absorbs blockers ?

  6. Savage57 June 5, 2013

    Not a gamble at all, just a well conceived move by the Packers with a guy who’s never really lived up to his billing.

    Just another step in making sure that contract #2 reflects his play on the field, not the hype around the guy that was drafted.

  7. Mike R June 5, 2013

    Have never understood why Raji is somehow grouped in with the Packers best players when he is talked about. He is average. He had a great playoff run a couple years ago, and no one will ever forget his INT in the NFC Championship game followed by his fat-man dance. Other than that, he has been very non-existent for the other 85% of his career. He’s easily replaceable.

  8. Lars June 5, 2013

    Gamble? That’s no gamble with Raji. Not throwing tens of millions of dollars at an easily block, complacent, fat DLineman who managed ZERO sacks and all of 26 total tackles in 2012 is just smart business. It’s calling him out to play up to his capabilities. Ironic you posted a pic of alligator arms going one of his stupid dances. Less posing. Less dancing and more results Busari. Only then will you get paid. Actually, Raji’s already made over $26 million. Where’s the incentive to push hard.