BJ Raji reportedly turned down a 5-year, 40 million dollar extension from the Packers before last season. If that’s true, he has to be kicking himself hard. This 1-year, 4 million dollar deal is a steep fall from that. The Packers originally offered Raji this 1-year, 4 million dollar deal before the start of the off-season, but he turned it down in favor of hitting the open market. Clearly, the open market did not prove to be as lucrative as he expected as he was forced to settle for that one-year deal. It’s a rough off-season for him.
However, that’s what happens when you have as bad of a season as Raji had last year, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 3rd worst ranked 3-4 defensive end this season. This type of thing is nothing new for him. Sure, he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 7th ranked 3-4 defensive end in 2012 (with 3 games at nose tackle in which he was about average), but he has a history of inconsistency. He graded out as Pro Football Focus’ worst ranked defensive tackle in 2011, but in 2010, he was their 28th ranked defensive tackle before a dominant post-season on the Packers’ Super Bowl run.
Committing a massive long-term contract to him would have been a huge mistake, even last season coming off of a strong season, so the Packers did well to get him on a one-year prove it deal. It might not necessarily pan out, but at his best he’s a talented and versatile defensive lineman who can play every spot on a 3-man defensive line, stuff the run and disrupt with interior penetration in sub packages.