Even though the job of strengthening the Green Bay Packers defensive line isn’t complete yet, it was still a relief to hear the news that both Letroy Guion and B.J. Raji will be returning to the line for the 2015 season.
Raji missed all of the 2014 season with a torn biceps which he suffered in a pre-season game against the Oakland Raiders back in August, and while Guion had one of his best seasons as a professional, he just recently paid a $5,000 fine which stemmed from a February arrest in Florida. Despite both players coming off of unfortunate circumstances, head coach Mike McCarthy still voiced his desire to have both players resigned. He especially appreciated Raji’s vocal support and dedication to the team despite being sideline all season with his injury.
In 2010, Raji’s best season as a Packer, he totaled 39 tackles and 6.5 sacks. He followed up that year with another three sacks in 2011, but then became virtually invisible in the two years following. Since the Packers only resigned him to the tune of one year and $3.5 million, chances are good that if Raji doesn’t put up halfway decent numbers this coming season, he’ll be shown the door. Then again, if he proves that he’s still capable of his 2010 numbers, he may earn himself a decent contract with another team, or get a better deal from the Packers next off-season.
After spending five seasons as a Minnesota Viking, Guion put up the best numbers of his career in his first year as a Packer. In 16 games played, he tallied 32 tackles, 3.5 sacks and one forced fumble – including a 1.5-sack performance against his old team back in October’s 42-10 drubbing at Lambeau. He also added five tackles and 0.5 sack in the 2014 post-season.
Since both players only received one-year contracts, the future is not secure on the defensive line by any means. This coming season will be a telling time for the line – and the defense as a whole. Hopefully Guion, Raji and the other younger players like Datone Jones, Josh Boyd, Khyri Thornton and Mike Pennell can prove their worth and make a name for themselves, much like Mike Daniels already has. Despite the current, young talent on the roster, look for the team to add another into the mix during the upcoming NFL draft.