David Bakhtiari

Packers’ David Bakhtiari To Practice This Week

All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari will practice this week, according to Packers head coach Matt LaFleur (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). This will trigger a three-week return window for the lineman now that his ACL is mostly good to go.

[RELATED: Panthers, WFT Wanted Jaylon Smith]

Bakhtiari, 30, opened the year on the PUP list. He’s served as Green Bay’s starting left tackle ever since his 2013 rookie season and has blossomed into one of the league’s best. Bakhtiari earned first-team All-Pro acclaim twice between 2018-2020 and his absence was clearly felt in the NFC championship game. Bucs edge rushers Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett had a field day with Green Bay’s healthy tackles, underscoring his importance to the offense.

Even though Bakhtiari will practice, LaFleur isn’t sure if he’ll be ready to face the Washington Football Team this week. “There is a ramp up period,” LaFleur cautioned (Twitter link via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers Cut 26 Players

The Packers cut their roster down to 52 players today, providing the organization with some extra flexibility over the next few days. The team announced the following transactions:

Waived

Released

Placed on Reserve/PUP

Placed on Reserve/Suspended

David Bakhtiari To Begin Season On PUP List

The Packers will begin their season without David Bakhtiari. The All-Pro left tackle will be transferred to the reserve/PUP list, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Moving Bakhtiari from the active/PUP list to the reserve/PUP list will shelve the decorated blocker for at least the season’s first six games. Bakhtiari suffered a torn ACL during a practice on New Year’s Eve and has been working his way back.

Bakhtiari, who will turn 30 during his stay on the PUP list, has been Green Bay’s starting left tackle since his 2013 rookie season. He has become one of the NFL’s best tackles, earning first-team All-Pro acclaim in two of the past three years. His absence was noticeable in the NFC championship game, with Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett getting the better of Green Bay’s tackles.

Standout interior lineman Elgton Jenkins lined up inside in that game but has slid to left tackle in Bakhtiari’s absence, giving Green Bay an interesting option. Jenkins has played both guard and center in his first two seasons, becoming an instant starter and impact player for the Packers, and will now be on track to work on the O-line’s highest-profile position to start the season. The Pack also roster Billy Turner and former Titans tackle Dennis Kelly, providing options while Bakhtiari finishes out his recovery.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Packers OT David Bakhtiari

David Bakhtiari‘s 2020 campaign came to an end when he suffered a torn ACL in late December.While the All-Pro offensive lineman naturally wants to be in the lineup for Week 1, he acknowledged that he’s more focused on getting back to full health.

“This is my first time going through this, so I’m just going to attack every day, try to hit every benchmark I can,” Bakhtiari said (via Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal). “And once ‘Doc’ can check me off, I can check myself and I can go out there and not only perform and protect myself but perform at the level that the Packers need me to, I think that’s where you’ll see me return, on that date.”

The start of the 2021 season will mark about eight months since the All-Pro lineman suffered the injury, which would definitely be a bit quick for a return from an ACL injury. The Packers surely wouldn’t want to do anything to compromise the health of the three-time Pro Bowler and five-team All Pro (including two first-team nods), especially following another successful season in 2020 where he ranked as the second overall offensive tackle by Pro Football Focus.

Plus, besides preserving the future health of one of their best players, the team also invested some big money in keeping Bakhtiari in Green Bay. Back in November, the team signed the 29-year-old to a whopping four-year, $92MM contract, making him one of the highest-paid linemen in league history. Both sides slightly reworked that contract earlier this offseason, but the move merely pushed some money down the road, helping the Packers’ 2021 cap sheet.

Assuming Bakhtiari is sidelined for the start of the 2021 season, the Packers have a handful of options that they could turn to at left tackle. Billy Turner played both tackles spots in 2020, and he’ll presumably start at one of the two positions to begin the season. Opposite him, the team could temporarily turn to the likes of fourth-round rookie Royce Newman or fifth-round rookie Cole Van Lanen.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers, David Bakhtiari Rework Contract

The Packers converted David Bakhtiari’s $11MM+ roster bonus into a signing bonus, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. With a little help from the left tackle, the Packers will save $8.3MM against this year’s salary cap. 

[RELATED: Packers HC Says Rodgers Staying “For A Long Time”]

The adjustment won’t impact Bakhtiari’s income. Instead, his payout will be dispersed over the length of the contract, which runs through 2024. With that extra cash, the Packers will have better odds of retaining their own free agents, including running back Aaron Jones and center Corey Linsley.

Pro Football Focus ranked Bakhtiari as the league’s No. 2 tackle in 2020 before his ACL tear in December. His protection helped Aaron Rodgers secure the MVP award and the top seed in the NFC. Throughout his career, the 2013 fourth-round pick has been a rock for Green Bay, starting in all 118 of his games.

Between Bakhtiari, Linsley (PFF’s No. 1 center in 2020), and Pro Bowl guard Elgton Jenkins, the Packers have one of the stronger front fives in the NFL. The Packers now have the capital to keep the band together, though some of their available cash could go towards a Rodgers extension.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

David Bakhtiari Likely Out For Season

In a brutal late-season blow, the Packers are not expected to have their left tackle for their Super Bowl push. David Bakhtiari is believed to have suffered a torn ACL in practice Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Recently given an offensive line-record contract, Bakhtiari has anchored Green Bay’s front for several seasons. He made his third Pro Bowl this year and is a first-team All-Pro candidate.

Pro Football Focus ranks the 29-year-old left tackle as its No. 2 overall tackle this season. He has certainly boosted Aaron Rodgers‘ chances of winning a third MVP award. The favorites to secure the NFC’s No. 1 seed, the Packers will be hard-pressed to replace the eighth-year standout.

A 2013 fourth-round pick, Bakhtiari did miss time earlier this season. He suffered a chest injury during the Packers’ blowout loss in Tampa. But he returned after a three-game absence. The Colorado alum became an instant starter in Green Bay as a rookie and has never missed more than four games in a season.

Green Bay has deployed a top-tier offensive line this season, with guard Elgton Jenkins joining Bakhtiari as a Pro Bowl honoree and center Corey Linsley rating as PFF’s runaway top center. The Packers lead the NFL in points (474) and rank third in yardage in Matt LaFleur‘s second season. They will face a more difficult road to the Super Bowl as a result of this crushing New Year’s Eve news.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers Extend David Bakhtiari

The Packers made a major move before their Week 10 date with the Jaguars. Green Bay locked up left tackle David Bakhtiari with a four-year extension, a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com (Twitter link). He had previously been set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

The deal is worth up to $105.5MM in new money, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. The base value is $23MM per year, Rapoport adds, which makes him the new highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history. Widely considered one of the best tackles in the league, Bakhtiari made his return on Sunday from a chest injury that cost him a few games. This is certainly a nice welcome-back gift.

A fourth-round pick back in 2013, he turned into a steal for Green Bay. The Colorado product became a full-time starter as a rookie, and he’s been protecting Aaron Rodgers‘ blindside ever since. He’s been pretty durable, starting all 16 games in five of his seven full seasons and never missing more than four in one year.

An All-Pro in each of the past four seasons, Bakhtiari only turned 29 in September. As such, he should still be in the prime of his career when this new pact expires. Laremy Tunsil became the highest-paid offensive lineman and first to eclipse $20MM annually back in March, and now Bakhtiari has blown past those numbers.

He’s pretty much in quarterback-money territory now. Rapoport later posted a follow-up tweet saying he’ll get a whopping $30MM signing bonus, with $62.8MM coming his way before the end of the 2022 campaign. Since 2017 Bakhtiari is first in the league in pass block win rate among tackles, according to a tweet from Seth Walder of ESPN.com.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Rumors: Robinson, Packers, Golladay

The Bears and WR Allen Robinson have resumed extension talks after a tumultuous week, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that Chicago rebuffed trade inquiries on its star receiver while increasing the contract offer it had on the table. However, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says negotiations are not likely to last deep into the season.

Per La Canfora, Robinson and the Bears still don’t see eye-to-eye on Robinson’s value, and Robinson may be content to head into the 2021 offseason as arguably the best WR available in free agency. But La Canfora says Robinson will not hit the open market. If the two sides don’t come to terms on a new deal, look for the Bears to slap the 27-year-old with the franchise tag. Obviously, both parties would prefer to avoid that outcome, but it sounds like there is still a wide gap that needs to be bridged in short order.

Now for more from the NFC North:

  • Before the season started, we heard that the Packers and RB Aaron Jones were working on a new deal. Although games are now underway, it sounds as if an extension could still get done. Jones, who is currently earning $2.133MM in the final year of his rookie contract, has seen plenty of other backs get new deals over the past several weeks and hopes he will get his big payday soon. “I’m definitely open to getting something done whenever,” Jones said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. “But like I said, that’s not my main focus. Just gonna continue to focus on football and helping this team bring in the wins, as many as possible.”
  • Another key member of the Packers who is set for free agency in 2021 is LT David Bakhtiari. As was the case with Jones, Green Bay was hoping to finalize an extension for Bakhtiari before the season, but it sounds as if the two sides are far apart in negotiations. Demovsky says the All-Pro lineman is looking to match or exceed Laremy Tunsil‘s $22MM AAV, while the Packers’ best offer to date is about $4MM per year less than Bakhtiari’s asking price.
  • Lions WR Kenny Golladay will make his 2020 debut soon. Although the star receiver will miss Detroit’s Week 2 matchup with the Packers this afternoon, head coach Matt Patricia said Golladay is “really close” to a return (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network). A few weeks ago, the Lions and Golladay were said to be nearing an agreement on what will surely be a massive extension, though there were conflicting reports on that front.
  • ICYMI, the Bears and RB Tarik Cohen have come to terms on a three-year extension.

Packers Eyeing David Bakhtiari Extension

Aaron Rodgers‘ longtime blindside protector, David Bakhtiari, is entering the final year of the four-year extension he signed with the Packers just before the 2016 campaign. He has more than lived up to that contract, earning two Pro Bowl nods and one First Team All-Pro bid over the past four seasons.

He is unquestionably one of the best left tackles in the league, and as Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network observes, Green Bay would love to get an extension finalized before Week 1 (Twitter link). After all, the LT market is rapidly heating up, and Bakhtiari’s deal now places him outside of the top-10 in terms of average annual value.

When asked back in June if there were any ongoing negotiations with the Packers, the soon-to-be 29-year-old was tight-lipped. Though he did commit 12 penalties in 2019, including a career-high five false starts, he chalked that up to learning a new offensive system. Indeed, he did not commit any penalties in the final four games of the campaign, and if he turns in a typical performance in 2020, he will have every right to demand a contract similar to the monstrous three-year, $66MM pact ($50MM guaranteed) that Laremy Tunsil recently signed with the Texans.

The Packers certainly would like to get Bakhtiari tethered to something a little more team-friendly, so it stands to reason that they would try to lock him up sooner rather than later. That is especially true in light of the expected salary cap decrease in 2021.

In other OL news for Green Bay, offseason acquisition Ricky Wagner left practice with a left arm injury yesterday, as Tom Silverstein and Jim Owczarski of PackersNews.com write. If Wagner misses an extended period of time, look for the club to line up 2019 right guard Billy Turner at right tackle and Lane Taylor at right guard.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers Notes: Rodgers, LaFleur, Bakhtiari, Taylor

The Packers’ offense lacked its usual punch in 2019 and, so far, they have yet to add a playmaker this offseason. If the Packers aren’t able to address that need between now and September, head coach Matt LaFleur believes that he can make a difference from the sideline.

It does start with the playcalling, maybe taking a few more chances to try to help generate those plays down the field,” said LaFleur (via ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky). “Typically, if you’re getting explosives, you’ve got a much better chance at scoring points.”

Last year, the Packers ranked 20th in explosive plays – passes of 20 yards or more and runs for at least ten yards. But, as Demovsky notes, it wasn’t the result of a conservative strategy. Aaron Rodgers had the league’s fifth-highest rate of pass attempts for 15+ yards and placed third in attempts for 20+ yards.

For now, the Packers are hoping that wide receiver Devin Funchess, second-round running back A.J. Dillon and third-round tight end Josiah Deguara will make a difference.

Here’s more out of Green Bay:

  • After taking a pay cut in late May, Packers guard Lane Taylor will earn just $910K in base salary this year, according to Demovsky (on Twitter). He’s now set to count for $2.4MM against the cap in his final year under contract, saving the team roughly $3MM against the cap. The Packers now have about $14MM to spend, which could give them some room to add a playmaker for Rodgers.
  • The extra cap room could also help the Packers lock up left tackle David Bakhtiari. In 2016, the Packers made Bakhtiari one of the five highest-paid tackles in the NFL with a four-year, $48MM extension. Now set to enter his final year, Bakhtiari’s value is tough to peg, as Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette writes. Bakhtiari, 29 in September, is one of the league’s best outside protectors, but he did regress slightly in 2019. Last year, he was flagged 12 times, his highest penalty total since 2015. For his part, Bakhtiari says that it was the product of adjusting to a new system. “The false starts are … I mean, that’s just unacceptable,” Bakhtiari said. “That just really comes down to thinking more about the concepts. Also just being new to a bunch of new things that are going on, So I’m taking my thought process away from the cadence. I think I kind of situated that and ironed that out.”
  • The Packers inked rookie Jon Runyan Jr. late last week, officially bringing one of Bakhtiari’s new backups into the fold.