The Green Bay Packers' defense has been widely criticized over the past few years, and defensive tackle B.J. Raji is one of the most frequent whipping boys, especially in 2013. Raji had minimal impact on the field, often being outplayed by younger options such as Mike Daniels or cheaper ones like Johnny Jolly.
The news Thursday morning is a surprise, though. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Raji appears set to sign a "prove it" deal which will keep him in a Packers uniform through 2014:
Packers and B.J. Raji are close to completing a 1-year deal that will keep the DT in Green Bay and off the free-agent market, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 6, 2014
This is very interesting, considering the highly-publicized offer that the Packers made to Raji before the season, which would have been worth $8 million average per year. It appears that Raji wants to come back inspired in 2014 and have a big year, which would allow him to recoup a lot of the money he turned down a few months ago. If he shows an impact rivaling that of his 2010 sophomore campaign with the Packers, Raji could be in for a massive payday a year from now, but for now it looks like he understands that he needs to prove his value to the Packers and the rest of the NFL.
UPDATE: According to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, Raji would move back to nose tackle if he does come back to Green Bay:
If BJ Raji stays with #Pack, he’d move back to nose tackle from defensive end. That’s what he’d want. If that’s the best deal, he’ll take it— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 6, 2014
Ian confirmed to me on Twitter that this was information he received from a source, and was not just his interpretation of the situation.