Sometimes the tea leaves lie.
When NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported earlier this offseason that the Green Bay Packers wanted to get more versatile and athletic on defense, we surmised that might mean the end of B.J. Raji's time in Green Bay.
However, the Packers might not be through with Raji after all.
Rapoport reported Thursday that, while both sides originally planned to move on as Raji sought a more lucrative contract, there now is a possibility the defensive lineman returns to Green Bay on a one-year "prove-it" deal. Negotiations are going well, but no official offer has been made, according to a person informed of the talks.
Last season, the 27-year-old turned down a contract from the Packers averaging around $8 million a year -- a move he likely regrets.
Coming off a disappointing season, Raji would be set up to hit the open market again next year if he opted for the one-year deal now. However, he currently is weighing all of his options, per Rapoport. Returning to Green Bay, where Raji has enjoyed playing, is one option. There is plenty of interest around the league for one-year contracts, Rapoport reported.
We pegged Raji as a potential player who could be overpaid, given his age and early career success. However, it's likely that Raji and his agent didn't see that market forming.
According to Rapoport, if Raji returns to Green Bay, he wants to move from defensive end back to nose tackle. If the Packers offer the most money and a position switch, he'd return.
The position switch could be beneficial. As a defensive end, Raji hasn't recorded a sack in 39 games -- including the playoffs. Raji is coming off a 17-tackle season and was destroyed by the running game in 2013, ranking dead last in Pro Football Focus' ratings for 3-4 defensive ends against the rush.
Depending on the dollars, renting Raji for one season could prove to be a prudent move for the Packers. However, if the same Raji shows up as last season, it merely will prolong his inevitable departure from Green Bay.