David Bakhtiari

LT David Bakhtiari Aiming To Play In 2024

By the time David Bakhtiari was released by the Packers earlier this month, the move did not come as a surprise. The injury-plagued left tackle is on the market, but he hopes to have found a new home by the time the 2024 season kicks off.

Green Bay cut Bakhtiari at the beginning of the legal tampering period, following through on the expectation the team would make a decision concerning his future before the start of free agency later that week. No serious interest is known to have picked up amongst potential suitors as teams turn their attention to healthier options. However, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports the 31-year-old is rehabbing with the intention of playing this season.

From 2016-20, Bakhtiari was one of the league’s premiere blindside protectors. He earned three Pro Bowl invitations along with five total All-Pro nods (two first-team, three second-team) during that span. However, things took a turn for the worse with a knee injury which ended his 2020 campaign and limited him to a single contest the following year.

The Colorado alum managed to suit up 11 times in 2022, but this past season he was once again sidelined for all but one game. With the Packers having made draft investments up front to find a replacement for him, Bakhtiari is now faced with the task of finding a new team for the first time in his career. As one of several players known to be close with Aaron Rodgers, he was floated as a potential Jets addition.

New York’s offensive line has seen a number of new arrivals, however. That includes the signing of Tyron Smith on a one-year deal to serve as the team’s left tackle (if he can remain healthy, something which has proven to be an issue for him much like Bakhtiari). The latter was reported to be a candidate to sign with the Jets only on the condition he compete for a first-team role; that would of course especially be the case now that Smith is in the fold.

At this point in the offseason, teams often hold off on deals with low-cost veterans until after the draft has taken place. In Bakhtiari’s case, a market will of course only be generated when he demonstrates a return to health. If that takes place over the coming weeks or months, though, it will be interesting to see if he manages to land a deal ahead of the coming season.

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.

Jets Not Expected To Re-Sign T Mekhi Becton; Latest On New York O-Line

FEBRUARY 29: Following up on his previous report, Pauline names the Titans and Falcons as teams to watch on the Becton front. Tennessee struggled up front last season, and at least one tackle addition will no doubt be a top priority for the team. Atlanta does not have a pressing vacancy along the O-line, but Pauline notes the team’s offensive line coach (Dwayne Ledford) worked with Becton in college. A prove-it deal sending him to either team in free agency could be in the cards as a result.

FEBRUARY 28: A January report indicated Mekhi Becton was likely to sign his second contract elsewhere. It now seems all but certain the former first-round pick will not be back with the Jets.

Buzz circulating around Becton for weeks has pointed to the injury-prone tackle signing a one-year deal with another team, Sportskeeda’s Tony Pauline notes. The New York Post’s Brian Costello takes it a step further, indicating Becton and Duane Brown will not be back with the Jets. Brown, 38, played out a two-year, $20MM deal in New York but ran into injury trouble in both seasons.

[RELATED: Jets To Release G Laken Tomlinson]

Becton returned after missing 33 games from 2021-22, beginning the season at right tackle but seeing time on the left side due to other Jets injuries as well. While displaying tremendous confidence in his bounce-back ability last offseason, Becton did not distinguish himself — beyond a slimmed-down physique — in his contract year. Pro Football Focus slotted the 2020 first-rounder 66th among tackles, a downgrade from his last healthy season.

While it seems likely a team will give Becton a second chance — especially on a thin tackle market — the Louisville alum makes sense as a player who will need to prove it on a one-year deal before a big-money contract is considered down the line. Becton is still just 24, though his injury- and weight-related struggles will impact his market.

Elsewhere on Gang Green’s O-line, Costello adds the Jets have not decided on the positions of Alijah Vera-Tucker. The three-year veteran is in line to return as a starter, but Costello offers that the team may not have his position nailed down until after free agency. Drafted to play guard, Vera-Tucker has slid to right tackle in each of the past two seasons due to injuries elsewhere. While the Jets have been intrigued by the prospect of the 2021 first-rounder sticking at RT, Costello adds the team may view the position hopping as part of the reason for his back-to-back season-ending injuries.

With this free agency class far deeper at guard compared to tackle, the Jets targeting an inside starter and keeping Vera-Tucker outside could be the way they go about this. The team had previously viewed Vera-Tucker as a potential Pro Bowl-caliber guard, so it will be interesting to see how it arranges its pieces up front. Clarity from the draft also may be necessary, as the Jets are being linked closely to drafting a tackle in Round 1. By most accounts, they were prepared to do so last year (Broderick Jones) before the Steelers swooped in.

Additional uncertainty may exist regarding Joe Tippmann‘s position, but Costello adds the college center is likely to work in that role despite seeing regular guard duty in 2023. Drafted as the center of the future in last year’s second round, Tippmann deferred to the re-signed Connor McGovern. The latter is due for free agency, clearing a path here.

Rather into former Packers, the Jets will probably consider David Bakhtiari if/once Green Bay releases him. The former All-Pro tackle missed almost all of the 2021 and ’23 seasons due to knee trouble that came out of the New Year’s Eve 2020 ACL tear. A Bakhtiari-Jets partnership — a matter that has been considered since Aaron Rodgers‘ arrival — may only come about, per Costello, if the injury-prone talent accepts he would be in a competition for a job rather than handed the Jets’ LT post.

The 11-year veteran was in place as the Pack’s LT starter for two of Rodgers’ four MVP seasons, picking up five All-Pro honors himself. Though, the 32-year-old blocker’s five knee surgeries over the past three years have changed his career path. Regardless of Bakhtiari’s status, the Jets appear prepared to reshape their O-line in a high-stakes offseason for the franchise.

Packers Expected To Cut LT David Bakhtiari

David Bakhtiari‘s time with the Packers is almost definitely winding down. Post-Aaron Rodgers and Mason Crosby, the 2013 draftee is the team’s longest-tenured player. But the knee injury sustained in a late-season practice in 2020 sidetracked the All-Pro’s career.

That seminal setback has led to five surgeries on the same knee; counting playoff opportunities, Bakhtiari has missed 45 games since the December 2020 injury. He was on the field for one contest last season, and although the longtime Green Bay left tackle did not put retirement in play when he went down last season, he will soon no longer be attached to the lucrative extension signed midway through the 2020 campaign.

The Packers are expected to release Bakhtiari soon, The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman notes (subscription required). Labeling the matter a formality, the Green Bay Press Gazette’s Ryan Wood also points to this release transpiring.

The Packers can save nearly $21MM by cutting the 11-year veteran. He is set to count a team-high $40MM against the Packers’ cap this year. One season remains on Bakhtiari’s contract. None of his remaining salary is guaranteed, though the Packers have more than $19MM in deferred signing bonus set to represent dead money if/when the former fourth-round pick is cut.

Prior to Bakhtiari going down with the ACL tear, the Packers gave him a four-year, $92MM extension. That deal came to pass six weeks before the injury, representing important timing on Bakhtiari’s part. While both the tackles who signed record-setting extensions during that 2020 season — Bakhtiari, Ronnie Stanley — have run into recurring injury trouble since, the elder of the two blockers has been unable to string together a steady batch of starts since going down.

A reasonable “what if?” exists surrounding Bakhtiari’s injury. The Packers obtained the NFC’s No. 1 seed in 2020 but saw Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul tee off on their tackles in a narrow NFC championship game loss. The Barrett-JPP second-half sack spree protected Tom Brady, who threw three second-half INTs in the narrow Buccaneers win. While it is reasonable to suggest the Packers venture to Super Bowl LV if Bakhtiari was available, that quickly devolved into a missed opportunity. By the point the five-time All-Pro was ready to play regularly again, the Packers were no longer at that level. They finished 8-9 and missed the playoffs during the 2022 slate, which featured 11 Bakhtiari outings.

Bakhtiari played well when on the field in 2022, ranking as Pro Football Focus’ No. 12 overall tackle. More knee trouble and an appendectomy sidelined him for six contests that season, which came after a 2021 campaign included only 27 Bakhtiari snaps. Last season, the 32-year-old blocker played in Week 1 but soon needed the above-referenced fifth knee procedure. Matt LaFleur said Bakhtiari experienced swelling in his surgically repaired knee before Week 2, and ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky indicates training camp remains the goal for the injury-prone veteran.

After Elgton Jenkins suffered a torn ACL when filling in for Bakhtiari at left tackle in 2021, the team settled on seventh-round pick Rasheed Walker as the veteran’s primary replacement last season. The 2022 draftee made 15 starts and was the team’s blind-sider in both playoff games. Barring an offseason upgrade effort, Walker would go into the ’24 season as one of the many rookie-contract starters on Green Bay’s offense.

As for Bakhtiari, the Jets being the team to give him a bounce-back opportunity seems logical. Rodgers wields considerable influence with the AFC East club, and the four-time MVP has been connected to wanting to bring his longtime LT to the Big Apple. The Jets would probably prefer a more stable option, given Mekhi Becton‘s injury-plagued tenure. The team is not viewed as overly interested in re-signing Becton, however, and Rodgers certainly drove personnel moves last year. It will be interesting to see if Rodgers pushes hard for the Jets to sign Bakhtiari at a significantly reduced rate — compared to his Packers deal, at least — once his Wisconsin tenure wraps.

Aaron Rodgers Eyeing Trade For Davante Adams; Other Packers On Jets’ Radar?

The Jets are officially retaining Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh; they are expected to keep OC Nathaniel Hackett as well. Jets decision to run back this trio would not go over well with a notable sect of the fanbase. The team is riding the longest playoff drought in major North American sports, but ownership is prepared to give the group a pass after Aaron Rodgers‘ Achilles tear sank this season.

With Rodgers having what certainly appears to be considerable say in the Jets’ decision-making, it should then be expected the team will listen to him regarding 2024 personnel moves. Already pegged as being prepared to pursue Davante Adams in 2024, the Jets look certain to make a genuine pursuit to reunite Rodgers with his former No. 1 Packers target. The Raiders wide receiver appears on Rodgers’ 2024 watch list, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes.

[RELATED: Jets Keeping GM Joe Douglas, HC Robert Saleh]

Rodgers’ 2023 wish list should probably give the Jets pause about more acquisitions driven by their quarterback. Allen Lazard went from signing an $11MM-per-year contract (with $22MM fully guaranteed, most among free agent wideouts this offseason) to being a healthy scratch for a game this season. After producing a career-high 788 receiving yards with the 2022 Packers, Lazard has 311 this season. Randall Cobb has four catches this season, and Dalvin Cook‘s $7MM contract has produced little. But an Adams addition would present a much higher floor.

The Raiders also continue to be linked to considering a trade. With the power brokers that signed off on the Adams trade (Josh McDaniels, Dave Ziegler) gone, ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano indicates there is a strong chance either the Raiders or Adams determines by the 2024 offseason this partnership should end after two years.

Adams, who turns 31 today, is 32 yards away from his fifth 1,000-yard season. A first-team All-Pro three years running, Adams has taken a step back this season. Voicing frustration about his role in the Raiders’ offense this year, Adams will likely finish well shy of his 1,516-yard 2022 showing in Las Vegas. With the Raiders closer to rebuilding after the ousters of McDaniels, Ziegler and OC Mick Lombardi, Adams could well be traded for the second time in three years.

It would cost the Raiders $23.6MM in dead money to trade Adams before June 1 of next year. Though new regimes are not as concerned with accumulating dead money associated with players previous staffs brought in, Champ Kelly is firmly on the radar to be retained as the Raiders’ full-time GM. Kelly was in place as assistant GM when the Raiders traded first- and second-round picks for Adams in March 2022. While Adams remains a high-end wideout, it would likely not cost as much for the Jets to pry him from the Raiders as it did for Las Vegas to obtain the then-franchise-tagged target.

More Packers may be on Rodgers’ 2024 list as well. The quarterback is a strong Aaron Jones backer, Cimini adds, and his friendship with David Bakhtiari is well documented. The Packers will likely release Bakhtiari after another injury-abbreviated season. The Jets need help at tackle and were briefly linked to a Bakhtiari pursuit this summer, but the 32-year-old blocker’s injury trouble since his New Year’s Eve 2020 ACL tear will limit his market.

It is unclear if the Packers will jettison Jones, though they would be tagged with barely $5MM in dead money if they designated the talented veteran as a post-June 1 cut. Jones joined Adams in being one of the Packers’ best skill-position players during Rodgers’ tenure, but he remains valuable to the team. Though, one season remains on Jones’ reworked contract. And the Packers pivoted heavily toward a youth movement in the wake of the Rodgers trade. AJ Dillon is unsigned for 2024. With Cook almost definitely not coming back and Michael Carter being waived recently, the Jets will be looking for a new Breece Hall backup.

Rodgers’ influence and importance to the Jets may lead to a significant say in 2024 personnel moves, but he is officially shut down for the 2023 season. His comeback from September Achilles surgery falling short still led to the Jets using an IR activation. Rodgers is believed to have resisted such a move, per Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, since he now takes up a roster spot despite not factoring into the team’s gameday plans. Douglas and Saleh made the push to activate Rodgers so he can continue practicing.

David Bakhtiari Aiming To Play In 2024, Uncertain Of Packers Future

David Bakhtiari‘s NFL path changed on New Year’s Eve 2020. Not only did the Packers see their Super Bowl LV hopes affected by an injury sustained in practice, they have been unable to rely on their All-Pro left tackle since.

Once again set to miss most of a season due to knee trouble, Bakhtiari confirmed he will not play again this year. But the 11th-year blocker indicated he does expect to play in 2024. Bakhtiari stopped short of confirming he would be a Packer again, per ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, as his persistent injury issues could prompt Green Bay to move on after this year.

The ACL tear Bakhtiari sustained nearly three years ago led to three surgeries between the December 2020 tear and the start of Packers training camp in 2022. He went through a fourth knee operation last week and has another scheduled for this year in Chicago, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein. A training camp 2024 return represents Bakhtiari’s goal.

Bakhtiari said his 2023 knee procedures are not connected to his ACL but address a femoral condyle cartilage issue. This trouble does stem from the 2020 injury, but after doctors hoped it would not become a problem for the All-Pro, a decision was made not to address this ancillary issue via another surgery at the time, per Demovsky. This lingering issue was enough to keep Bakhtiari off the field in Weeks 2 and 3, and after the Packers placed him on IR ahead of their Week 4 Lions matchup, news emerged indicating this problem would sideline him for the season’s remainder.

After missing the Packers’ two playoff games in 2020, Bakhtiari spent part of 2021 on Green Bay’s PUP list. The team activated the high-priced LT in mid-November that year but did not deploy him in a game until a meaningless Week 18 contest. The Packers used Bakhtiari on 27 plays in that season-ender in Detroit, despite the team having locked down home-field advantage. The ramp-up effort backfired. Bakhtiari did not play in Green Bay’s divisional-round game two weeks later. He was ready to go in time for Week 1 of the 2022 season, but knee trouble and an appendectomy led to six absences last year.

When on the field last season, Bakhtiari resumed his place as one of the game’s best O-linemen. ESPN’s pass block win rate metric ranked Bakhtiari second among tackles and tops among left-siders. But last month’s setback offered another reminder of how damaging that 2020 injury has been for the former fourth-round success story.

Bakhtiari, 32, said (via Demovsky) he and GM Brian Gutekunst have discussed his future. The Packers gave their top lineman a then-record-setting deal — four years, $92MM — during the 2020 season. That deal has not panned out, and if Bakhtiari is in the team’s plans for 2024 (the contract’s final season), he will need to almost definitely rework it. Due to past restructures, next season calls for a $40.6MM Bakhtiari cap number. No void years are present in this deal. It would cost the Packers more than $19MM in dead money to cut Bakhtiari, but that number could be spread across two years if the team uses the post-June 1 designation.

The Packers only have one big-ticket contract on their offense — Elgton Jenkins‘ four-year, $68MM deal — and the team will be rid of the Aaron Rodgers dead money by 2024. But Bakhtiari’s Packers future is in doubt after this latest bout of knee pain. How he responds from his latest round of surgeries will represent the next check-in regarding this long-running situation.

David Bakhtiari Likely Out For Season; Packers LT Not Contemplating Retirement

The latest batch of knee trouble David Bakhtiari is experiencing sent him to IR on Thursday. The Packers are not expecting a near-future return.

Bakhtiari is unlikely to come back this season, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, who reports the 11th-year veteran has undergone another knee surgery. Already undergoing three knee procedures to address the knee injury that sidetracked his career, Bakhtiari added an arthroscopic procedure to the list this week. Another surgery is scheduled as well.

The ensuing operation is expected to occur within a few weeks, and while this recurring problem has threatened to take the All-Pro out for another season, Rapoport adds Bakhtiari is aiming to be ready for the 2024 season. Despite the knee trouble effectively taking over Bakhtiari’s career since that New Year’s Eve 2020 ACL tear, he is not planning to retire as a result of this latest setback.

Since the initial injury, Bakhtiari has missed 25 regular-season games and three Packers playoff tilts. He experienced swelling in his surgically repaired knee before Week 2, leading to the surgery that is on track to make this a second one-game Bakhtiari season for the second time in three years. The four-time Pro Bowler played only one game during the 2021 campaign, making a return for a meaningless Week 18 contest. Playing in that game led to Bakhtiari missing the ensuing divisional-round matchup, and last season did not bring a return to full strength.

Aaron Rodgers‘ final Green Bay season came with Bakhtiari missing six games. While an appendectomy limited the accomplished blocker as well, the knee trouble recurred. The 32-year-old tackle expressed optimism this offseason; that turned out to be misleading.

This will obviously deal a blow to a Packers O-line that remains without Pro Bowl left guard Elgton Jenkins, who is recovering from an MCL sprain. While Jenkins has not been placed on IR, he has already missed three games as a result of his latest round of knee trouble. Jenkins battled back from the ACL tear that shut him down in November 2021, returning to form and signing a lucrative extension late last season. Bakhtiari has not been as fortunate.

These recurring issues aside, Bakhtiari has done quite well contractually. Weeks before his ACL tear, the 2013 fourth-round pick inked his second Packers extension — a then-record-setting four-year, $92MM accord. That contract runs through the 2024 season. With Bakhtiari tied to a $20.2MM base salary and a $40.6MM cap hit, he will not return to the Packers without a contract adjustment. Green Bay could split up his $19MM dead-money hit by using a post-June 1 cut designation, though a pay reduction could conceivably extend the parties’ relationship.

Even with knee pain limiting him last season, Bakhtiari graded second in ESPN’s pass block win rate metric. Pro Football Focus graded him as the NFL’s 12th-best tackle in 2022. The Packers have primarily turned to 2022 seventh-round pick Rasheed Walker in Bakhtiari’s place this year. Jenkins filled in for Bakhtiari in 2021, but the team moved him back to guard last season. Green Bay’s O-line struggled to protect Jordan Love in a two-score loss to Detroit on Thursday night, and although Jenkins’ return will certainly help, Bakhtiari will again be difficult to replace.

Packers Place LT David Bakhtiari On IR

Still dealing with knee trouble, David Bakhtiari will return to injured reserve. The Packers will be without their All-Pro blind-sider for at least four games, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero report. The Packers have since announced the IR placement.

Bakhtiari has not played since Week 1. Because this transaction is taking place before Green Bay’s Week 4 game, Bakhtiari would be eligible to return in Week 8. But it is far from a lock he will be able to do so, with Rapoport indicating the 11th-year veteran may need more time to come back this year — if, in fact, a return is in the cards.

Bakhtiari, who will turn 32 on Saturday, has undergone three knee surgeries since his New Year’s Eve 2020 ACL tear. That injury effectively threw the highly paid blocker’s career off course. He only returned for a handful of snaps during the 2021 season and missed six games last year, though an appendectomy contributed to his 2022 missed-games ledger. Prior to the seminal 2020 setback — one that played a significant role in the Packers’ Super Bowl LV push falling just short — Bakhtiari had never missed more than four games in a season.

Matt LaFleur said Bakhtiari experienced swelling in his surgically repaired knee before Week 2. The fifth-year Green Bay HC had previously declined to comment on Bakhtiari playing on FieldTurf; the veteran has been a vocal opponent of the surface. But Bakhtiari also missed the Packers’ home opener at Lambeau Field, putting to rest the speculation his Week 2 absence was field surface-related.

It is safe to say Bakhtiari’s career is now at a crossroads. The Packers are certainly a better team when the four-time Pro Bowler is available, but this is the third season in which knee trouble will lead to a lengthy absence. The Packers are also down Elgton Jenkins to a knee injury. Jenkins joined Bakhtiari in missing much of the 2021 season, having suffered an ACL tear himself. But Jenkins recovered from his severe injury on time and has since signed a lucrative Packers extension. Jenkins has been out since suffering an MCL sprain in Week 1. The fifth-year guard does not expect this injury to force an IR stint, ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky notes.

Rasheed Walker has primarily replaced Bakhtiari at left tackle. While the Packers were able to get by without both Bakhtiari and Jenkins en route to home-field advantage in 2021, Aaron Rodgers being in MVP form propped up that effort. Jordan Love being without his best two O-linemen will obviously hinder the cause early in his starter run, though the Rodgers successor managed to eke out a shorthanded win over the Saints last week.

The Packers are also expected to have two of their skill-position pillars back against the Lions tonight. Aaron Jones is set to return from his hamstring injury, per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero, who adds Christian Watson is on track to make his season debut after missing three weeks due to a hamstring ailment.

WR Notes: Watson, Metchie, Chark, McLaurin, Smith-Njigba

Jordan Love‘s tenure as the Packers‘ full-time starting quarterback will have a bit of a hurdle to navigate this week. In his first start since November 2021, Love will be without the team’s top returning receiver Christian Watson, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.

Watson is dealing with a hamstring injury that could potentially lead to an extended absence. Head coach Matt LaFleur claimed that he doesn’t think Watson will reach a three- or four-week absence but classified the second-year wideout as week-to-week.

The top target in Watson’s absence, fellow sophomore receiver Romeo Doubs, is also dealing with a hamstring injury but is only listed as questionable heading into the weekend. Rookie wideout Dontayvion Wicks is the third such receiver on the team dealing with a hamstring injury, but he managed to avoid the injury report altogether. Star tackle David Bakhtiari is also available after staying off the injury report.

Here are a few more reports on wide receiver injuries from around the league heading into Week 1:

  • The world will have to continue to wait for the NFL debut of Texans wide receiver John Metchie III, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC2. Despite making a recovery from both a torn ACL and leukemia, Metchie is still dealing with a nagging hamstring injury. Houston is being patient, taking a “big-picture approach” to Metchie’s return. The team will be without safety Jimmie Ward and linebacker Blake Cashman for Week 1, as well.
  • The Panthers are slowly working their way back to full health in their receiving corps, according to Panthers writer Augusta Stone. Back ups Terrace Marshall and Ihmir Smith-Marsette are now fully participating in practice after recent injury trouble. Starters Adam Thielen and D.J. Chark Jr. both returned to practice today in a limited capacity. While Thielen was listed as questionable and could still play, Chark has been ruled out for the team’s season opener.
  • The Commanders drew lots of criticism when leading receiver Terry McLaurin sustained an injury as the team played its starters fairly deep into a preseason game in an effort to end the Ravens’ preseason win streak. They’ll dodge a bullet, though, as McLaurin will be active this week after making good progress from his turf toe injury, according to Commanders senior writer Zach Selby. He’s had a couple of full participation practices and should be good to go for Week 1. Defensive end Chase Young has been listed as questionable, though. Head coach Ron Rivera claimed that “if (Young’s) cleared, he’ll go.”
  • Despite undergoing wrist surgery just two and a half weeks ago, Seahawks rookie first round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba is expected to play in the team’s season opener against the Rams this Sunday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Head coach Pete Carroll, who was optimistic on the recovery timeline, confirmed as much this week.

NFC North Notes: Packers, Lions, Hockenson

Rashan Gary is all set to debut in Week 1, completing his recovery from the ACL tear that ended his 2022 season in November. But the Packers will begin their top pass rusher on a pitch count to start the season, Matt LaFleur confirmed (via Packers Wire’s Zach Kruse). This could open the door for early-season Lukas Van Ness development. The Packers still roster Preston Smith, who is going into his fifth season with the team, and Van Ness contributed as an inside and outside rusher at Iowa. The team has versatile linebacker Justin Hollins and 2022 fifth-rounder Kingsley Enagbare, who became a primary starter after Gary went down last season, as options while Gary ramps up to a full workload.

Additionally on the Green Bay injury front, David Bakhtiari, Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs are viewed as game-time decisions for Sunday’s opener against the Bears. Bakhtiari, who has seen knee trouble sidetrack his career to a degree over the past two-plus years, is listed on the injury report with more knee trouble. He expects to play, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein tweets. Both starting receivers are battling hamstring maladies and have not practiced this week. Here is the latest from the NFC North:

  • As for tonight’s game, the Lions ruled out cornerback Emmanuel Moseley. Although Detroit activated Moseley off its active/PUP list before roster-cutdown day, the free agency addition underwent a second knee procedure this summer and was viewed as a long shot to start the year on time. Moseley is finishing up a recovery from an October 2022 ACL tear.
  • Isaiah Buggs started 13 games at nose tackle for last season’s Lions edition, but the veteran was informed in advance he would be a healthy scratch tonight, the Detroit News’ Justin Rogers notes. The Lions gave Buggs a two-year, $4.5MM deal in March but gave more snaps to rookie Brodric Martin and Benito Jones during camp. Buggs believes his lack of offseason attendance affected the team’s decision, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. The former Steelers contributor said his wife giving birth led to him staying away during OTAs. Jones and Alim McNeill are expected to start in Kansas City, Birkett adds.
  • Going into free agency, the Bears did extensive work on Dre’Mont Jones, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune notes. Although the Bears carried plenty of cap space into free agency, they chose to stand down on Jones and spend for the likes of Tremaine Edmunds, Nate Davis, T.J. Edwards and DeMarcus Walker. The team later addressed its D-tackle needs in the draft, choosing three — Zacch Pickens (Round 2), Gervon Dexter (Round 3) and Travis Bell (Round 7) — on Day 2. This duo should be expected to play bigger roles down the line, but in Week 1, Justin Jones and Andrew Billings are slated to start. A four-year Broncos regular, Jones ended up with the Seahawks on a three-year, $51MM deal.
  • T.J. Hockenson‘s four-year, $66MM Vikings extension comes with $29.29MM fully guaranteed, according to OverTheCap. That number checks in fourth among tight ends — behind Kyle Pitts‘ rookie deal and the extensions for Mark Andrews and George Kittle. Hockenson’s 2024 base salary is fully guaranteed. His $10.9MM 2025 base salary is guaranteed for injury at signing, per Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, who notes that number shifts to a full guarantee a year early (March 2024). The Vikings did not use the year-out guarantee structure for Hockenson’s 2026 setup, giving them more flexibility. Hockenson has $2.3MM of his 2026 base ($15.4MM) guaranteed for injury; it does not shift to a full guarantee until March 2026, giving the Vikings additional flexibility. Hockenson’s cap number will climb from $5MM this year to $14.1MM in 2024, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets.