B.J. Raji re-signed with Green Bay Packers this offseason on a one-year, $4 million contract, looking to prove he could still be a force on the team's defensive line. In last night's 31-21 victory over the Oakland Raiders, Raji suffered an apparent arm injury. Ian Rapoport reported early Saturday morning that his injury was believed to be a torn bicep, and according to Tom Silverstein, he indeed sustained the injury that could prevent him from playing in 2014 depending on the severity of the tear.
Just confirmed Raji tore his biceps from a league source. Fear is it's season-ending.— Tom Silverstein (@TomSilverstein) August 23, 2014
Raji looked poised for a good bounce-back year after looking well this off-season and performing up to par during the first two preseason games before suffering the injury. This year Raji moved back over to his more natural position on the defensive line at nose tackle.
The Packers currently have two players healthy that can line up at nose tackle in Josh Boyd (he played there a bit on Friday against the Raiders) and undrafted free agent rookie Mike Pennel. Letroy Guion is still on the Non-Football Injury list, and we haven't seen much of Boyd at nose, but Pennel played well against Tennessee and St. Louis to make a strong bid for a roster spot.
It's unclear whether the Packers will go the free agency route and sign a former player like Ryan Pickett or Johnny Jolly, but the case can certainly be made. Despite both of their ages and lack of interest in the market, each player has experience both in the system and at the position that could certainly warrant them receiving an opportunity.
UPDATE: Adam Schefter of ESPN has confirmed with a league source that Raji will miss the entirety of the 2014 season, presumably because the biceps muscle is completely torn:
Packers NT B.J. Raji is out for the season, as many suspected, with a torn bicep.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 23, 2014
This is the first injury in Raji's career that will cost him significant playing time. The only games he has missed previously in his five years in the NFL were two games in the middle of the 2012 season and the first two contests during his rookie year in 2009. It's time for Boyd and Pennel to take a big step forward.