Packers To Release LT David Bakhtiari

For some time now, David Bakhtiari has been expected to be released by the Packers. The All-Pro left tackle confirmed that is the route being taken by Green Bay in a social media post on Monday.

This move has been expected for a while, as Bakhtiari’s body has betrayed him over the course of the monster contract he signed during the 2020 season. A New Year’s Eve knee injury sustained in practice that year re-routed the All-Pro’s career, and after more knee trouble came in 2023, the Packers are rebooting at left tackle.

The Packers will save just more than $20MM by cutting Bakhtiari, who was due to count more than $40MM on Green Bay’s 2024 cap. Although no void years are present in this contract, past restructures ballooned that 2024 total. Bakhtiari was set to make $20.2MM in 2024 base salary. A post-June 1 move would increase the cap savings here, dividing the $19.1MM in dead money over two offseasons. The Packers, however, took their medicine on Aaron Rodgers in one year. They may well do the same with his longtime blindside protector.

Since that seminal knee injury, Bakhtiari has missed 39 regular-season games and five playoff contests. He spent most of the 2021 season out of action, only returning for a handful of snaps in Week 18. Work in that meaningless contest led to Bakhtiari sitting in the Packers’ divisional-round follow-up, a loss to the 49ers. Bakhtiari returned to a high performance level in 2022, playing 11 games, but was only able to suit up for one last season.

A five-time All-Pro (two first teams), Bakhtiari thrived after being a third-round Packers pick back in 2013. He was in uniform for three NFC championship games. His absence against the Buccaneers in 2020 became glaring, as Tampa Bay’s edge rushers teed off on Rodgers in the second half that day. Bakhtiari still did well to collect a four-year, $92MM extension weeks before his knee injury in 2020. The Packers, unfortunately, did not get much from that investment.

Green Bay primarily used Rasheed Walker in Bakhtiari’s place last season, keeping former sub Elgton Jenkins entrenched at guard. Pro Football Focus ranked Walker 44th among tackles last season. The former seventh-round pick could certainly be an option, but it would also make sense for the team to make a bigger investment — perhaps in a tackle-rich draft — to succeed Bakhtiari, who would be going into his age-33 season. Despite five knee surgeries, the decorated left tackle had not indicated he was preparing a retirement. The Jets could be in play for Bakhtiari, but it would be with the understanding he would compete for the LT role rather than being handed the gig.

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