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Report: B.J. Raji, Packers close to one-year deal

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

B.J. Raji and the Packers are reportedly close on a one-year deal.
B.J. Raji and the Packers are reportedly close on a one-year deal. (USATSI)

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The Packers decided not to franchise tag defensive tackle B.J. Raji, who hasn't recorded a quarterback sack since 2011, and let him walk into free agency. But they might still salvage the relationship after all.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the two sides are "close to completing" a one-year contract that would keep Raji in Green Bay.

Raji's been heading into a career crossroads of sorts for more than two years now.

He's seen a decreased number of snaps each of the last four years, bottoming out at 666 total snaps in 2013 according to Pro Football Focus.

Raji claims he's OK with the reduced role and the Packers have reportedly been interested in getting smaller on the defensive line. That report was denied by Mike McCarthy at the combine, however.

"I've never been part of a conversation that you want your d-linemen to be smaller. That's not accurate," McCarthy said. "We want to continue our process, but as far as evaluating d-linemen, we will be a little different on defense as far as how we utilize our defensive players, particularly our front players, because we do have a number of players who can play both the rush outside position and maybe make some impact from the inside position. But our evaluation as far as what we're going to do bringing defensive linemen into our program – if anything, you always want to get bigger, stronger and faster and things like that.

"We're definitely not going to be smaller."

That's good news for Raji, who weighs 334 pounds.

But it's a drastic dropoff for what was expected of the defensive tackle. He was drafted in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft with the ninth overall pick, the same year the Packers drafted Clay Matthews.

Matthews recently inked a mammoth long-term deal with Green Bay. Raji reportedly had his shot recently, as it's reported he was offered an $8 million-per-year contract before 2013.

Turning that down looks like a pretty poor choice at this point.

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