Defensive tackle B.J. Raji is returning to the Green Bay Packers for a one-year prove-it contract after finding his market in free agency especially soft.
An NFL source confirmed a report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Raji agreed Friday to accept the deal worth about $4 million plus incentives.
Raji, the former No. 9 pick overall in the 2009 draft, was looking to hit it big in free agency this year, but coming off back-to-back years without a sack and an ordinary 2013 season, no teams were willing to offer him the kind of long-term contract he thought he could get.
So he returns to the Packers for one season, where he’ll return to the nose tackle position that he played in 2010, which was his best year in the NFL. With a strong performance, the 27-year old will be able to test the market again next offseason.
The contract agreement also means that general manager Ted Thompson has had an eventful first week of free agency even if he hasn’t signed a player from another team. Since the start of the early negotiating period last Saturday, Thompson has signed four of his unrestricted free agents: Raji, cornerback Sam Shields, defensive lineman-outside linebacker Mike Neal and tight end Andrew Quarless.
The four deals have cost Thompson about $14.5 million in salary-cap space.
Counting inside linebacker Jamari Lattimore’s $1.4 million tender as a restricted free agent, the Packers still have about $18.5 million in cap room to sign players and extend the contracts of core players such as receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.