GREEN BAY – B.J. Raji may very well be proven right, and the Green Bay Packers will indeed take care of him. But according to an NFL Network report Monday evening, it won’t happen until after the team sees how the veteran defensive lineman performs this season.
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that after the Packers and agent David Dunn engaged in some “early talks,” the Packers have informed Raji that they will let him play out the season and will not attempt to sign him to a long-term extension before the season ends. Raji, the ninth overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, is in the final year of his contract.
Last week at the Packers’ open organized team activity practice, Raji told reporters that he wasn’t worried about a contract extension or his impending free agency, even after he watched fellow Dunn clients Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews sign long-term extensions with the Packers.
Raji played better in 2012 than he did in 2011, even though he was chosen for his first Pro Bowl team in 2011. Although he wasn’t all that impressive statistically last season (zero sacks, 45 tackles), he led the linemen in snaps (768) despite missing two games with an ankle injury and had 25 quarterback hurries.
“I did not have a sack last year but according to Trgo and Coach McCarthy, they felt last year was probably one of my best pass-rushing years. So go figure?” Raji said. “Obviously, I’d love to have the numbers to support that. But ultimately, I’m just about winning. Hopefully, I can help us win next year by having some more sacks.”
Asked about contract talks, Raji replied, “I’m not really going to talk contracts. Obviously, the Packers are a great organization and I’m sure they’ll do right by me. I’ll just leave it at that.
"I’m just raring to go. Anytime a season you win your division for the second straight year and you end up losing in the divisional round, especially with the expectations we have here, it’s never a good feeling. I had some time to get off and come back with the mentality that I want to dominate like I have in the past. I’m going to help this defense play great defense every game."
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