The Green Bay Packers have been busy trying to lock up nose tackle B.J. Raji, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Bob McGinn reports that the Packers offered Raji a long-term deal worth an average of $8 million annually “several months ago”. That’s a large sum of money, and it’s far too much to be paying Raji, who hasn’t played like an $8 million-man since his monster 2010 season. He’s still a decent player, but he’s not worth that kind of money.
And yet, it sounds like Raji thinks he ‘s worth more than that, because McGinn reports that Raji rejected that deal and has also rejected the $8 million in other negotiations with the team. Raji seems to think that he can get more money on the open market in free agency, and I sincerely hope that he changes his evaluation of his own skills. Firstly, the Packers are more inclined to pay Raji more, because teams value continuity and they feel Raji fits their scheme perfectly. He’s not going to fit every scheme out there, so that inherently decreases the pool of potentially interested teams, thus decreasing demand and his chances of receiving a huge deal.
Beyond that, Raji just isn’t all that good. If you click on the piece above, basically everyone in league circles doesn’t view Raji as that caliber of a player. If he’s smart, he’ll just take the $8 million and laugh at why on earth Ted Thompson would hand him that much money per year. I mean, you could make the argument that Mike Daniels is a better player than Raji, so it’s quite interesting to see the normally frugal Packers wanting to break the bank on Raji. What’s even more perplexing is hearing that Raji doesn’t even want to take this golden-platter of a deal.
The fact that the Packers are willing to pay Raji this much shows that they must really think highly of Raji both as a player and as a fit in their scheme. I hope Raji also realizes the importance of continuity, because a massive deal like this would help him both financially and in his own life. He’ll be able to stay with an organization and community that he’s familiar with for the foreseeable future, and he really shouldn’t risk leveraging himself in free agency. He does a great job of plugging up holes as an NT and his numbers don’t do him justice, but he hasn’t flashed the dominance he showed in 2010. If Raji were consistently playing at his 2010 levels, then he would be worth that kind of coin.