B.J. Raji confident Green Bay Packers will reward him


Now that the Green Bay Packers have locked up quarterback Aaron Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews to lucrative extensions, defensive lineman B.J. Raji is the next candidate for a new contract.

Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Raji expects the Packers to devote a healthy portion of their roughly $13 million in salary-cap space to stabilizing his relationship with the team.

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"I'm not really going to talk contracts," Raji said Tuesday, via the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "Obviously, the Packers are a great organization and I'm sure they'll do right by me. I'll leave it at that."

Although the Packers reportedly have opened contract discussions with cornerback Sam Shields, Raji would seem to be a higher priority. The tricky part is figuring out his value.

Head coach Mike McCarthy and position coach Mike Trgovac have praised Raji's progression as a pass rusher, but he has been highly inconsistent while moving back and forth between nose tackle and five-technique defensive end over the past few seasons. Raji has been at his most effective when bolstered by a top talent such as Cullen Jenkins but has struggled to make an impact against double teams.

Raji likely will seek nose-tackle money, as the position is more valuable in coordinator Dom Capers' defense. In which case, the six-year, $33.555 million contract signed two years ago by Buffalo Bills veteran Kyle Williams could be a reasonable starting point.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.