It was reported earlier today by ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the Green Bay Packers and B.J. Raji are close to a one-year deal that would be a prove-it contract for the starting nose tackle, who is coming off of the worst season of his career. Raji has been a disappointment over the past couple of seasons, and it looked like a change of scenery would do him well. It didn’t seem like the Packers would be willing to pay up for him, especially since he reportedly rejected a multi-year deal worth $8 million per year last offseason.
Not only is Raji about to sign a one-year deal with the Packers, but the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Bob McGinn reports that the deal is worth only $4 million per year. Raji would likely earn more than that on the free agent market and for more years, but he is wiling to take a cheap, prove-it deal in order to bank on a big bounce-back season in 2014. Hopefully that’s incentive enough, as the Packers desperately need the 27-year-old Boston College product to resume his form pre-2012.
There’s no doubt that Raji has all the tools to be a great defensive tackle in this league, and he showed off that plugging ability with added disruptiveness in the past. But his play has declined over the last couple of years, so it isn’t too surprising to hear that he’s willing to take a prove-it deal. Still, $4 million isn’t much, and it’s less than what I thought he would go for.