B.J. Raji Considering Packers, Others

B.J. Raji bounced back and started 15 games last season, recording 34 tackles (12 solos) with one-half sack. Plus, the latest on James Starks and Nick Perry.

B.J. Raji remains in the mix for the Green Bay Packers.

Raji, the veteran defensive tackle whose return to the lineup played a role in the team’s rise up the defensive rankings, remains unsigned as the second week of free agency approaches. According to the source, Raji is considering staying in Green Bay but has other options. One of them is Carolina.

Raji has settled for one-year deals in each of the past two offseasons and was hoping for something with more security this time around.

Even with the in-season extension of Mike Daniels and the re-signing of Letroy Guion, the Packers would be thin up front without Raji because Mike Pennel will be serving a four-game suspension to start the season.

“He’s one of our guys,” coach Mike McCarthy said at the Scouting Combine. “I’m hopeful we get B.J. signed.”

Also on Monday morning, a source repeated that the Packers remain interested in bringing back running back James Starks, who visited New England last week and received increased attention from other teams over the weekend. He's likely the Packers’ No. 1 choice in the backfield behind Eddie Lacy. Former Bears running back Matt Forte, who had been linked to Green Bay, said during his introductory news conference with the Jets on Monday that Green Bay had only "minor" interest.

After a disappointing 2013 season, Raji missed all of the 2014 season with a biceps injury sustained in the preseason. Raji bounced back and started 15 games last season, recording 34 tackles (12 solos) with one-half sack.

Raji was a first-round pick in 2009 and the starting point in the team’s transition to the 3-4 defense. He had a tremendous second season as the Packers won the Super Bowl, with 66 tackles (36 solos) and 6.5 sacks. He made the Pro Bowl in 2011, when he had 43 tackles (19 solos) and three sacks. However, he had a subpar season in 2013 (36 tackles, 14 solos, no sacks), so he had to come back on a one-year deal. Then, because of the injury, he re-signed with a one-year deal that paid him $2,587,500 last season.

He rewarded the team by providing sturdy run defense. While his 13.44 snaps per tackle ranked fourth on the unit, teams averaged 0.49 yards less per carry with Raji on the field. He didn’t find a hot free-agent market, however, because of his lack of pass-rush potential. Raji’s one-half sack — coming in Week 1 at Chicago — was his first since 2012.

Perry's deal: Nick Perry's $5 million contract will count $4.875 million against the salary cap. It includes a $2.3 million base salary, $1.5 million signing bonus and $200,000 roster bonus. The other $1 million is in weekly roster bonuses. Since he played in 14 games last season, that $1 million counts as $875,000 against the cap — 14/16 of $1 million.

Tolzien's deal: According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Scott Tolzien's deal with the Colts is for two years and $3.5 million — a $500,000 bonus and $1.25 million base salary in 2016 and a $1.75 million base salary in 2017. He earned $1.35 million with Green Bay last season.

Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.

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