David Bakhtiari

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.

Injury Notes: Vikings, Packers, Colts, Bucs, Falcons

The Vikings received some excellent news on Monday when an MRI revealed cornerback Xavier Rhodes suffered a “very, very mild” hamstring injury, head coach Mike Zimmer told reporters, including Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Twitter link). While Minnesota does have depth in its secondary (Mackensie Alexander, Holton Hill), the club had already lost rookie first-round corner Mike Hughes for the season. And missing Rhodes, who was named All-Pro in 2017, for any amount of time would have been devastating. After beating the Packers on Sunday night, the Vikings now have a 63% chance of earning a postseason berth, per FiveThirtyEight.com.

Let’s take a look at more injury news from around the NFL:

  • Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari suffered two knee injuries and an ankle injury against the Vikings last night, but there is still hope he’ll be able to play against the Cardinals in Week 13, as Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com writes. After being defeated by Minnesota, Green Bay will almost surely need to win out to have any chance at making the playoffs, and losing Bakhtiari certainly wouldn’t help matters. Arguably the league’s best pass-blocking tackle, Bakhtiari missed six games over his first five seasons in the NFL. If Bakhtiari’s not able to play against Arizona, former second-round pick Jason Spriggs would take over on Aaron Rodgers‘ blindside.
  • After going down with a concussion against the Dolphins, Colts running back Marlon Mack is “iffy” for Week 13, tweets Mike Chappell of Fox59. Mack missed three games with a hamstring injury earlier this year, but has averaged 16.5 carries per game since as Indianapolis’ lead back. The 6-5 Colts face a winnable game against the Jaguars next Sunday as they fight for a playoff spot, and would turn to Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines to play more snaps if Mack can’t go.
  • Buccaneers receiver DeSean Jackson is headed to New York to get a second opinion on his thumb injury, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Jackson was originally injured in Week 11, and while he played against the 49ers in Week 12, it still sounds as though the issue is bothering him. Elsewhere in Tampa Bay, tight end O.J. Howard — who is already on injured reserve — is facing a four-to-six week recovery timeline for his ankle ailment, tweets Laine. Given that the Bucs are already out of postseason contention, Howard isn’t a candidate to return this year.
  • Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said linebacker Deion Jones looks excellent but stopped short of saying Jones will be ready for Week 13, reports Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Jones was activated off injured reserve in advance of Week 11, but he still has yet to see the field. After originally suffering a foot injury in Week 1, Jones hasn’t played since, and his — and other key defenders’ — absences have contributed to Atlanta’s disappointing 4-7 record.

North Notes: Vikings, Bakhtiari, Dupree

Prior to Teddy Bridgewater‘s career-defining injury at Vikings practice two Augusts ago, Mike Zimmer assumed the 2014 first-round pick would be his quarterback for the remainder of his head-coaching tenure. But the gruesome leg injuries Bridgewater suffered eventually led him out of the Twin Cities and to the Big Apple. Now, the 62-year-old head coach envisions Kirk Cousins, attached to a three-year contract, as the quarterback for the rest of his run as Vikings HC.

I always thought Teddy was going to be my quarterback for my career and these are the way things go,” Zimmer said during a Sirius XM Radio interview. “Now, I hope that Kirk is the quarterback for my career … and it’s long, too. Not one year.”

Zimmer expanded a bit on what drew him to Cousins, though Minnesota certainly wasn’t alone in the rare pursuit of a franchise-level quarterback on the market. But the Vikings weren’t viewed as the obvious choice from the outset, given Case Keenum‘s success in 2017.

Part of it was his accuracy,” Zimmer said of the Cousins pursuit during the interview. “He threw the ball into a lot of tight windows, and we’re seeing that here in camp. Very consistent in the things he was able to do. So I think that was part of it. You know, not too many times is a quarterback that’s really entering his prime at 28 (Cousins turns 30 later this month) get out on the free agency market that’s thrown for 4,000 (yards) for three straight years. I think he’s my fifth quarterback in five years, so I’m hoping we’ve stabilized the quarterback position.”

Here’s the latest from a Vikings rival and the AFC North.

  • The Packers received a scare when a cart transported cornerstone left tackle David Bakhtiari from the practice field Saturday night, but Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (on Twitter) Bakhtiari suffered a sprained left ankle. He won’t return to action immediately, but at this point, it doesn’t look like the sixth-year lineman will miss regular-season time.
  • Bud Dupree suffered a setback this weekend and is in concussion protocol, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The Steelers will be without their starting right outside linebacker for a bit, per Fowler, after seeing the fourth-year player start camp strong. Anthony Chickillo and Keion Adams reside as the top backups, per Pittsburgh’s first 2018 depth chart, and will see more time while Dupree is sidelined. Adams was a 2017 seventh-round pick who did not play last season.
  • Jabrill Peppers kept his starting spot after the Browns released their first depth chart, but Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal tweets the battle between the 2017 first-rounder and Derrick Kindred is not over. Both continue to receive first-team reps opposite Damarious Randall, and Ulrich adds each will play plenty in three-safety looks this season (Twitter link). It would, however, be notable if Peppers couldn’t keep his starting job considering what the Browns invested in him. A 2016 fourth-rounder, Kindred’s started 15 NFL games.

North Notes: Burfict, Bears, Packers, Decker

Vontaze Burfict‘s Bengals contract calls for a $2MM roster bonus if he’s on the team by March 31 of next year, Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. The Bengals protected themselves heavily with the Burfict extension, one that could pay out $33.234MM through 2020, since the deal comes with just $3.3MM guaranteed. Speaking publicly about the extension for the first time, Burfict didn’t elaborate much about his decision to bypass free agency for a largely non-guaranteed deal. Although, he did say he appreciates the Bengals’ support in agreeing to take him on long-term given his suspension history. “I hope so,” Burfict said (via Owczarski) of the feeling of support. “I give my blood, sweat and tears out on the field. It’s vice versa. I appreciate everything they do for me and my family and like I said, let’s go get a win on Sunday. Now we’re in for four more years, so we’re past it now. So now obviously just win some games.”

The Bengals reinstated Burfict on Thursday.

Here’s the latest from the North divisions on a night when their most storied rivalry takes center stage.

  • The BearsTarik Cohen pursuit began when Ryan Pace‘s top southeastern scout declared the then-North Carolina A&T running back was his favorite player to watch, over all of the SEC prospects he observed, and the Chicago GM soon became enamored as well, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (video link). The Bears selected several small-school talents this year, with second-round tight end Adam Shaheen being the first, but Cohen — a fourth-rounder — has played an impact role from the start.
  • While Cohen will receive his first chance to display the elusiveness that enticed the Bears to a national audience, the Packers will be down several key players. Both starting tackles — David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga — are out, and Mike Daniels will miss the Week 4 tilt as well. The Packers are already down would-be backup options in Don Barclay, Jason Spriggs and Kyle Murphy — each on IR — so Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com tweets a four-guard lineup could be on tap. Justin McCray, who started at tackle for Bakhtiari in Week 2, and fellow rookie Adam Pankey join second-year player Lucas Patrick in the mix to protect Aaron Rodgers on Thursday. Each of those players entered the league as a UDFA. The Packers played without both starting tackles against the Falcons, with Murphy and McCray receiving the replacement starts.
  • The Bears aren’t judging Mike Glennon in their impending quarterback swap but rather are monitoring Mitch Trubisky to determine when the rookie will be ready to take over, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes. Glennon has struggled during his first three starts, and Biggs categorizes the season’s plan — once based around Trubisky redshirting as a rookie — as a week-to-week arrangement.
  • Ka’Deem Carey‘s Bears injury settlement was worth $273,529, Biggs reports. The Bears placed the backup running back on IR just before the season, and the settlement came shortly after.
  • Not known for particularly expansive pressers, Jim Caldwell succinctly assessed Taylor Decker‘s status. The fourth-year Lions coach said Decker is “progressing towards” a midseason return, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. The left tackle was given a four- to six-month timetable upon a labrum tear in June. Midseason would fall in that range. Greg Robinson currently mans the left edge for the Lions.
  • Tests done on Danny Shelton‘s injured calf don’t look to reveal a serious malady, Rapoport tweets. The Browns defensive tackle injured the calf in practice Wednesday. He has not missed a game in his three-year career.

North Notes: Bengals, Bradford, Packers

A “near mutiny” helped induce the Bengals to fire offensive coordinator Ken Zampese after two games. Although Andy Dalton‘s job is not believed to be in jeopardy as of now, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes the leash might not be especially long for the seventh-year starter. And some Cincinnati players might not all be on board with a simple A.J. McCarron succession strategy. While it would certainly be an off-the-board choice, Florio hears some Bengals players are expressing support for a Colin Kaepernick signing.

The UFA passer has been the NFL’s most discussed player this offseason despite not being affiliated with a team. McCarron’s been a Bengal since 2014 but has never threatened Dalton’s job security, only seeing relevant action after a Dalton injury in 2015. Kaepernick said recently he does want to return to the NFL, and has been training daily for a potential chance. Many players have publicly endorsed the 29-year-old quarterback receiving an opportunity. A Bengals route might be a stretch, though, considering McCarron’s status.

Dalton currently sits on a 55 percent completion percentage and a 0-to-4 touchdown pass-to-interception ratio. The Bengals have not scored a touchdown in two games and have posted just nine points.

Here’s the latest from the North divisions.

  • The Vikings played without Sam Bradford on Sunday, and the Case Keenum-led team lost to the Steelers. Bradford’s knee injury has him at day-to-day for the time being, but Florio hears the quarterback’s injured knee is “structurally fine.” Mike Zimmer used “fine” to describe Bradford’s status (Twitter link), even though the coach was vague in setting a return timetable. Any further game absences would signal the eighth-year signal-caller is, in fact, not fine.
  • Green Bay will be playing without both starting tackles tonight in Atlanta. Longtime Packers starters David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga will miss the Falcons tilt, the team announced. Bulaga missed last week’s game due to an ankle injury suffered during preseason play. A hamstring malady will shelve Bakhtiari. Kyle Murphy and Justin McCray will start, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com reports. A fourth-year UDFA, McCray has yet to play in an NFL game.
  • The Bears will not deviate at quarterback despite Mike Glennon‘s struggles, John Fox said today. Fox shot down the idea Mitch Trubisky would start in Week 3 for the 0-2 team. Glennon threw two interceptions and lost a fumble in a blowout against his former team in Week 2.
  • The Ravens received the toughest blow of any North-division team Sunday, losing Marshal Yanda for the season.