According to an initial report from Bob McGinn, later confirmed and added to by Steven Haywood, BJ Raji appears to be close to signing a one year deal to remain with the Green Bay Packers. Terms were initially reported to be right at $4 million, but Haywood’s addition to the story suggests that the deal could be incentivized and worth up to $6.5 million.
Raji had a down year in 2013, whcih was obviously a contract year. It would appear that part of this return to the Packers is going to include his move back to nose tackle from defensive end. Raji graded out as one of the worst 3-4 DEs in football and has always seemed uncomfortable playing that position. His dominant season in 2010 came as the team’s NT.
It’s being reported that Raji was offered two options, a one year deal and a two year deal. Raji’s choice of the one year deal would make it appear that he understands the opportunity that was lost with his play this season as it pertains to signing a big contract. The deal appears to be a win-win situation for both parties. Raji gets a chance to prove himself as as nose tackle (or a productive player period) and the Packers are only locked into one season at a reasonable amount of money. The deal also pushes the negotiation period an additional season and allows the Packers to negotiate a possible extension for Raji after the cap expands next offseason and after it becomes clearer what the team wants to do with high dollar defenders Morgan Burnett and Tramon Williams.
I, for one, recognize Raji’s potential as a football player and wish that there was a team option for a second year (even at a higher dollar amount) so that just in case 2010 Raji shows up (he’s only 27) there was one more year of team control. Regardless of your opinion on Raji as a player this is a low risk high reward propostion for all parties and solidifies 5 of the 6 (maybe 7) spots on the 2014 defensive line.