If there is one thing you can count on during NFL free agency, it is some head scratching moves.
Often times, the cause of the head scratching is teams offering absurd sums of money to players who may or may not be worth what they are being paid with their new found fortunes.
Sometimes, however, the head scratching is caused by the players and the actions they take as they enter free agency.
Case in point: B.J. Raji.
When news came out that Raji had rejected a long term contract worth approximately $8 million/year, it was widely assumed that he was going to test the free agent market. Makes sense-why settle for $8 million when the potential for even more exists.
Now comes the head scratching part.
Raji had arguably the worst season of his career in 2013. In addition to his stats being down, he looked slow. Quite frankly, he looked disinterested at times being on the field as a member of the Packers.
Some can argue that he is playing the role Dom Capers has asked him to play in his defense. Occupying blockers so the linebackers can make the play. But this is the same player who looked explosive off the ball in 2009-2011. So the potential for Raji to grow into his role still exists.
Yet Raji chose to refuse that contract, playing out the season in the hopes that he would garner high interest on the open market.
After the dust settled on the season, the Packers once again approached Raji with a contract offer, albeit a substantially smaller one.
One year. Four million dollars. That is the value the Packers have placed on Raji after his sub par season.
While Raji weighs this offer, the Packers have also been showing interest in other free agent defensive linemen. Arthur Jones and Lamarr Houston were among the names the Packers had been reportedly gauging their own interest in, before they signed new contracts elsewhere.
On one hand, it is wise for Raji to see what kind of interest he can generate. He is still young, with the prime of his career (hopefully) still ahead of him. This is the best time for him to bank on making some serious cash while playing in the NFL.
On the other hand, the longer Raji sits on the Packers offer, the more interest they could show to players such as Jones and Houston, among other free agents. The time may come when one or both of them are members of the Packers, and they move on from him.
There is only so much money to go around. Every minute that passes without Raji resigning with the Packers could be another minute he is replaced by someone else. And the $8 million he was originally offered by the Packers becomes less than that offered by another team. A less talented team. A team where he will have to learn an entirely new system.
Wonder how much Raji is kicking himself for not signing that $8 million/year contract right about now.