B.J. Raji's Out For The Season - Now What?

B.J. Raji has been lost for the year. How will the Packers fare in his absence?
B.J. Raji has been lost for the year. How will the Packers fare in his absence?

Multiple sources are now reporting that defensive tackle B.J. Raji has been lost for the season due to a torn biceps. Obviously, this is a huge blow to the defensive line, both from a talent standpoint and as far as the depth along the defensive line. Here are three quick thoughts on the situation:

1. This may make Raji's return next year more likely.

Raji famously turned down a megadeal toward the middle of last season that would have paid him in the neighborhood of $8 million a year. That deal came off the table as his play declined, and he ended up returning on a one year, $4 million "prove it" deal. Well, there's no chance to prove anything now, so Raji may find himself in the same boat next year. This injury puts Raji's contract situation in a holding pattern now, since he has no chance to show he's worth more than the deal he was supposed to play on this year.

2. Mike Pennel's roster spot is now guaranteed.

Regardless of his performance in last night's game, Pennel is the only true big body remaining on the Packers' roster. Space eaters are a requirement along the front of a 3-4, and other than Raji, Pennel is the only one that exceeds 330 pounds. Sign him up coach, he's ready to go.

3. Paging Mr. Pickett. Mr Pickett, please report to the Lambeau Field atrium.

Quick, name a big-bodied defensive lineman who's a free agent that's familiar with the 3-4 defense and has played in Green Bay before. There's two, obviously: Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly. If the Packers make a move to pick up a new lineman, it's almost assuredly going to be one of these two, and of the two, Pickett is the one not recovering from offseason neck surgery. I'm not saying it's imminent or even likely, but if the Packers want to pick someone up quickly, it's Pickett.

Jon Meerdink