According to a tweet sent out this morning by Adam Schefter and retweeted this morning by many, including Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee, the Green Bay Packers and B.J. Raji are moving closer to a single-year deal that would keep the defensive lineman in Green Bay and, most importantly, keep him off the free agent market which is scheduled to start in earnest this weekend.
— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) March 6, 2014
The Packers, who have close to 20 free agents set to hit the market, have been strangely quiet in the early going as the NFL approaches the Free Agency season. Other teams, such as NFC North Division rival Chicago Bears, have been very active in signing their own players – in fact, they’ve signed 10 of their free agents. Green Bay General Manager Ted Thompson has always said he likes to sign his own, but there has been no indication that is impending.
That is until this morning when the news about Raji broke.
Other Packers high profile players who are set to hit free agency are wide receiver James Jones, running backs James Starks and John Kuhn, center Evan Dietrich-Smith, cornerback Sam Shields, and defensive linemen Johnny Jolly and Ryan Pickett.
The Packers aren’t an organization where there are a lot of leaks on impending negotiations, so it’s not surprising that there has been literal silence on the issue from 1265 Lombardi Avenue, but fans are beginning to get edgy as the uncertainty of who will and who won’t be back in Green Bay is beginning to set in as we approach the eve of Free Agency.
Starting Saturday, agents and teams can begin reaching out to one another, but the actual official signing of free agents won’t begin until next Tuesday afternoon.
BTW, the Packers are sitting on about $34 million in available funds to work with, but don’t expect Thompson to open his checkbook too wide – especially at the start of the free agency period. There are some who have said Green Bay could sign up to as many as five free agents, but don’t expect them to be the high-priced, high profile players, such as a Jairus Byrd.
We will continue to monitor this situation with Raji and bring you analysis as things begin to break.
Stay tuned …