Green Bay Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji is out for the year with a torn bicep. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Have we seen B.J. Raji in a Packers uniform for the last time?

The 2010 season saw the Green Bay Packers 2009 first-round-pick burst onto the scene. B.J. Raji enjoyed a season at nose tackle that included 39 total tackles and 6.5 sacks.

Raji was a key component to the Packers playoff run, which ultimately ended with the Lombardi Trophy coming back home. His 18-yard pick-six during a playoff game against the bitter rival of the Chicago Bears proved to be the game-winner and propel the Packers momentum into Super Bowl 45 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

His sophomore campaign had his peers taking notice as he was voted the 81st overall player of the NFL’s Top 100 player list. He would go on to record 22 total tackles along with 3 sacks that was ultimately good enough to earn his first Pro Bowl.

Following the 2011 season Raji’s production took a very steep decline.

2011 NFC Championship: Green Bay Packers v Chicago BearsBoth the 2012 and 2013 NFL seasons saw B.J. Raji come away empty in the sack category. Despite his lack of production the Packers offered Raji a multi-year contract reportedly worth over $8 million during the 2013 season. He elected to decline the offer Green Bay placed on the table.

Raji hit the free agency market hoping to somehow still garner a large deal. Teams did not come knocking down the door for his services, however.

The Packers eventually re-signed Raji to a one-year $4million contract – a contract with a guarantee of $500,000. The contract also contained a $300,000 per-game bonus that Raji will be unable to earn due to his season-ending bicep tear suffered in the preseason win over the Oakland Raiders.

This begs the question of whether we will ever see B.J. Raji in a Green Bay Packers uniform again?

At 6-2, 337 pounds, Raji will turn 29 before the start of the 2015 NFL season which will be the earliest he can return from his injury.

With zero recorded sacks since the 2011 season, coupled with a season-ending injury, one would not imagine Raji will  have many suitors if he hits the open market following the 2014 season.

B.J. Raji goes through workouts during Saturday's training camp practice. Jim Oxley photograph

B.J. Raji goes through workouts during Saturday’s training camp practice.
Jim Oxley photograph

Many fans were pumped with Raji’s performance through camp and were looking forward to his return to nose tackle were he made his name.

Will the Packers give him another shot?

At the right price Ted Thompson may not have a whole lot to lose with taking a gamble. At the same time, don’t be surprised if we have seen Raji don the green and gold for the last time.

 

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