David Bakhtiari

Aaron Rodgers Addresses Latest Trade Rumors, Jets’ Nathaniel Hackett Hire

During the first round of Aaron Rodgers trade rumors, the source rarely provided insight about his situation. With Rodgers now having a weekly radio spot, his status is never far off the radar. The 18-year Packers quarterback had more news to address Tuesday.

A weekend report from ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter indicated the Packers would prefer to move on from Rodgers. This would mean giving another team responsibility of the $58.3MM bonus, which can be paid at any point this offseason, but also taking on a substantial dead-money hit — should a trade occur before June 1 — and committing to seeing what Jordan Love has to offer.

[RELATED: Rodgers Trade A “Very Real Scenario”]

Rodgers is well aware of the conversations occurring among Packers brass, per Schefter, and the 39-year-old superstar certainly seemed to confirm as such. “It sounds like there’s already conversations going on that aren’t involving me, which are interesting,” Rodgers said during his latest Pat McAfee Show interview (via ESPN’s Rob Demovsky). This response also came to question that did not specifically address the Schefter report.

The Jets’ Nathaniel Hackett OC hire also did plenty to fuel speculation Rodgers could be headed out of Green Bay. Again offering praise for Hackett — the Packers’ OC from 2019-21 — Rodgers said (via ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini) the former Green Bay assistant was among his favorites. Robert Saleh downplayed the Rodgers-Hackett connection, as should be expected, but the Jets are evaluating Rodgers, Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo.

Rodgers reiterated he has not made a decision about returning but pointed to one of the two decisions on his plate — seemingly calls on playing and staying with the Packers — being made in “a couple weeks.” Carr, Garoppolo and Rodgers could all be available at different points on the calendar — Carr in February, Garoppolo in March and Rodgers potentially in June, when a trade would be less financially punishing for the Packers — adding an interesting wrinkle to this year’s QB market.

Green Bay moving on this offseason would be eerily similar territory, especially with New York being in the equation again. The Packers have used Rodgers as their starter since trading Brett Favre to the Jets in August 2008. The Jets have not acquired a franchise-caliber veteran since that Favre deal, which was only for a conditional third-round pick. Rodgers is expected to command more in a deal. Favre turned 39 shortly after being dealt to the Jets; Rodgers turned 39 last month. Love is going into his fourth season, just as Rodgers was in 15 years ago.

The Packers’ direction will also influence their decision on keeping Rodgers, who mentioned five players — David Bakhtiari, Randall Cobb, Allen Lazard, Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis — as those he wants as teammates. All but Bakhtiari are free agents. Cobb and Lewis’ statuses with the Packers almost certainly depend on Rodgers’, Demovsky adds. Both vets likely will not return to the team if Rodgers is not back. Bakhtiari is due a $9.5MM roster bonus on the third day of the 2023 league year and is set to carry a $28.9MM cap number. Bakhtiari should be expected to return on a restructured deal, per Demovsky. The former All-Pro left tackle said he is not planning to retire, and Brian Gutekunst said he expects the 10-year veteran to be back.

Packers GM Addresses QB Situation

Delivering an earlier-than-usual autopsy of the Packers’ season, Brian Gutekunst addressed what has already become a third straight offseason of Aaron Rodgers-driven uncertainty.

The sixth-year Packers GM said Jordan Love is “definitely” ready to play, indicating (via The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman, on Twitter) the three-year backup is “chomping at the bit” to become the team’s starter. When asked which quarterback would give the Packers the best chance to win next season, Gutekunst deferred to Rodgers’ four MVP honors.

[RELATED: Matt LaFleur Wants Rodgers Back In 2023]

Once the object of Rodgers ire, Gutekunst earned his way back into the future Hall of Famer’s good graces to close out a turbulent 2021. Rodgers ended up signing a three-year, $150.8MM extension in March 2022. That record-setting contract does give the Packers some flexibility, allowing a $58MM bonus to be paid at any point in 2023. That opens the door for a trade, and Rodgers said last week his Green Bay future may not be entirely up to him. Rodgers, 39, looks to also be considering retirement.

Gutekunst did not entertain the prospect of a Rodgers trade when asked about it Friday and said he can see a scenario in which Rodgers and Love are on the roster together for a fourth season, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein tweets. The Packers have received criticism for using a first-round pick on Love and sitting him for three seasons, effectively squandering the rookie-contract resource that has been so valuable to teams who have taken first-round QBs since the 2011 CBA reshaped rookie deals. The Packers must decide on Love’s fully guaranteed fifth-year option in May.

Love is on Green Bay’s payroll at $3.94MM for 2023; Rodgers would check in with a $31.62MM cap number. Unless the Packers trade Rodgers or he retires, the team could conceivably run back a Rodgers-Love depth chart for a fourth straight year. Given how far the team has pushed the Love apprenticeship, it would make sense to — NFL norms be damned — extend that into 2023. But the Packers’ QB depth chart is not yet certain. Gutekunst said (via Silverstein, on Twitter) he wants both players back and that Rodgers will take his time and regularly communicate with the team.

Rodgers fell off the MVP perch this season, with the Packers’ controversial strategy at wide receiver impacting the superstar QB’s performance. Gutekunst said as much Friday, indicating (via Silverstein) the Davante Adams trade played a role in Rodgers’ numbers dipping in 2022. Thumb and rib injuries plagued Rodgers this season as well, leading to Love making an intriguing cameo in Philadelphia. The Packers staying in the NFC wild-card race kept Love on the bench. QBR was particularly harsh on Rodgers, dropping him from first (in 2021) to 26th. Trade interest would undoubtedly come, were the Packers to consider it this time around. They resisted Broncos interest in 2021, and Rodgers decided to stay in Green Bay via the extension last year.

Regardless of Rodgers’ status, Gutekunst said restructures are a near-certainty. Early projections have the Packers at $13MM over the 2023 cap, though the 2023 salary ceiling has not yet been finalized. Gutekunst expects both Aaron Jones and David Bakhtiari to return next season as well (Twitter links via Schenidman and ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky).

Jones’ cap number balloons to $5.9MM to $20MM next season; a restructure would knock that down while adding to future cap figures. Bakhtiari’s cap figure will spike from $13.4MM to $29.1MM. While the All-Pro left tackle returned to action this season, the knee trouble that shelved him in 2021 limited him to 11 games this season. Bakhtiari, who has missed 30 games since the 2020 season (counting playoff tilts), said recently he does not intend to retire.

Packers LT David Bakhtiari Out For Week 13; Aaron Rodgers Cleared To Start

The Packers announced on Friday that left tackle David Bakhtiari underwent an appendectomy earlier today. As a result, he has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Bears.

The 31-year-old tweeted an encouraging update with respect to the procedure being a success. That will likely limit the length of his latest absence, but this news nevertheless marks another reason for Bakhtiari to be sidelined. His career has been greatly hampered by a 2020 ACL tear.

That injury cost him all but one game last season, and led to multiple operations aimed at returning him to full health. He and the team hoped for a Week 1 appearance in 2022, but his season debut ultimately had to wait until two weeks later. Even after he returned, the three-time Pro Bowler did so in a rotational capacity for two of his first three games, and followed an unusual practice schedule.

Overall, though, Bakhtiari has regained his elite form of previous years, earning a PFF grade of 82.1 so far this season. Pass protection in particular has, as usual, been a strongpoint for him individually, though the Packers have been mediocre through the air collectively. This will mark his second missed game since returning to action, leaving Green Bay with fourth-round rookie Zach Tom and starting right tackle Yosuah Nijman among the options to play on the blindside.

Regardless of who is blocking in that position on Sunday, the team’s signal-caller will be a familiar one. Aaron Rodgers was once again a limited participant in practice today, and he does not have an injury designation for Sunday’s contest. That clears the way for him to start, as both he and the team have expected to happen. He will be dealing with thumb and rib injuries when he takes on a Bears team which will welcome back Justin Fields, a passer who is himself coming back from a dislocated shoulder.

Inactives Today: Dotson, Swift, Bakhtiari, Horn

Washington was hoping to get its rookie first-round pick back today after missing the past two weeks with a hamstring injury, but, after seemingly reaggravating the hamstring in practice Thursday, Dotson will miss his third game in a row, according to Stacey Dales of NFL Network. In his absence, Washington will rely on Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown to work opposite Terry McLaurin on offense.

The Commanders have been a mixed bag without Dotson in the lineup. In the team’s loss to the Titans two weeks ago, Brown and Samuel combined to catch eight balls for 167 yards and two touchdowns. Brown’s production came on two long touchdown catches, while Samuel was peppered with eight targets working a shorter range. The two did enough to compliment McLaurin and open him up to snag five passes for 76 yards.

There wasn’t much offense to be found the next week during the Commanders’ win in Chicago, as quarterback Carson Wentz only accumulated 99 passing yards. McLaurin showed up, as usual, catching three balls for 41 yards, while Samuel only caught two of his five targets for 6 yards and Brown was only targeted once. The team has also utilized Cam Sims and Dax Milne, but Samuel and Brown seem to be the most capable candidates to replace Dotson’s production.

Here are a few other notes on players listed an inactive today:

  • Continuing a trend from his first two seasons, injuries seem to be weighing down Lions running back D’Andre Swift this year as he is also set to miss his third straight game, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Lions have the very capable legs of backup Jamaal Williams who, despite the offense’s struggles during a Week 5 trip to New England, has performed admirably in the lead role during Swift’s absence. Craig Reynolds has taken up the backup duties with Justin Jackson contributing, as well. All three will likely be needed for a tough trip to Dallas.
  • The Packers continue to get intermittent play out of star tackle David Bakhtiari due to the lingering effects of his recovery from last year’s ACL tear. After playing sparingly in two of the last four games, Bakhtiari will be out today against the Commanders, according to Field Yates of ESPN. Zach Tom is likely to sub in to protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers blindside, while Yosh Nijman slots in at right tackle.
  • The Panthers will be without second-year cornerback Jaycee Horn for the second week in a row. Last week, the team called on C.J. Henderson to start opposite Donte Jackson but split much of the playing time with second-year backup Keith Taylor. They’ll likely depend on a similar gameplan today against the Buccaneers.

Packers LT David Bakhtiari Expected To Play In Week 3

Green Bay appears to be receiving some long-awaited injury news with respect to one of their top players. Left tackle David Bakhtiari is expected to play tomorrow, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). 

Bakhtiari is officially listed as questionable as he continues to deal with the effects of his 2020 ACL tear. That injury left him sidelined for all but the regular season finale last year, and required a third operation this offseason. With plenty of uncertainty surrounding his short- and long-term future, things appeared to take a positive turn on the eve of the season.

The two-time First-Team All-Pro stated that he expected to be available for Week 1, but the Packers continued to rely on Yosuah Nijman instead. That remained the case again the following week, as Nijman continued to operate effectively on the blindside in PFF’s eyes. With a pass-blocking grade of 84.7 and only one penalty committed, he has helped stabilize a Green Bay offensive front which just got Pro Bowler Elgton Jenkins back in Week 2.

Still, a return to the field – and elite form – from Bakhtiari would be a welcomed sight for the Packers. The 30-year-old has been a full-time starter on the blindside since his rookie season, and is the team’s second highest-paid player. With his cap hits scheduled to soar to $29MM and $33MM for the final two years of his contract, it will be important for both player and club to see if he can handle a regular workload.

Doing so could be made easier by the light practice schedule he will be following this season. The first significant test, though, will come tomorrow when the Packers face the Buccaneers in an attempt to move to 2-1. With healthy tackles on both sides of the o-line, Green Bay’s prospects in that game and beyond could be notably improved.

Latest On Packers LT David Bakhtiari

The Packers hoped to have David Bakhtiari back in the lineup to start the 2022 season, but that has not come to fruition. The All-Pro left tackle sat out once again during last night’s game against the Bears, and is facing an unusual practice routine when he does make his return. 

As detailed by Ryan Woods of PackersNews.com, Bakhtiari will not suit up for each of the three consecutive practice days during any given week, even after he has fully recovered from the ACL tear which occurred on New Year’s Eve in 2020. The soon-to-be 31-year-old will therefore not have a full week of preparation in advance of any games he does appear in this season.

“He’s gotten a lot of reps,” head coach Matt LaFleur said of Bakhtiari’s slow journey back to game action. “There’s not many people that can probably have a schedule like that, but I do believe – and we believe as an organization – that he’s one of those guys.”

The former fourth-rounder earned Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro honors in 2020, but was limited to just one game played last season as he attempted to come back from the injury. He underwent a third knee surgery this offseason, which led to a stay on the PUP list but also optimism that he would be fully recovered in time for the season opener. In the absence of that taking place, Yosuah Nijman has filled in on the blindside.

In more positive health news, Green Bay was able to welcome back fellow Pro Bowl tackle Elgton Jenkins and No. 1 receiver Allen Lazard yesterday, after the pair were sidelined for Week 1. Their health will give the Packers’ offense a notable boost, but the team’s second highest-paid player appears to face plenty of uncertainty in the short- and long-term future with respect to his availability.

Packers OTs David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, WR Allen Lazard Unlikely To Play Week 1

SEPTEMBER 11: Unfortunately, the Packers will be without their OT bookends for at least one more week. Per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, both Bakhtiari and Jenkins will miss Sunday’s opener against the Vikings. Yosuah Nijman, who started eight games at left tackle in 2021, will again get the nod in Bakhtiari’s absence.

SEPTEMBER 10: Green Bay is facing a generally positive situation on the injury front heading into their season opener against the Vikings. One notable absence is expected in the receiving corps, however. 

The Packers’ final injury report lists Allen Lazard as doubtful (Twitter link via ESPN’s Rob Demovsky). He has been dealing with an ankle injury, which has kept him out of practice throughout the week. Green Bay would sorely miss their new top receiver in the event of any lengthy absence.

Lazard signed his RFA tender in June, locking him into a one-year salary of just under $4MM. The timing of his contract status couldn’t have been any better, as the 26-year-old is set to take on the No. 1 spot following the departures of Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling this offseason. A former UDFA, Lazard posted career highs across the board in a complementary role last season with 40 catches, 513 yards and eight touchdowns.

Assuming he misses the Minnesota game, the Packers will turn to veterans Randall Cobb and Sammy Watkins at the position, along with rookies Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers openly criticized the young pass-catchers last month as they look to prepare for significant roles right away to begin their NFL careers. Doubs in particular is slated to be a starter, and has reportedly formed a rapport with the reigning MVP, potentially setting him up for a notable workload especially if Lazard is out.

As Demovsky notes, several other key players are expected to suit up for the Packers. Among those are offensive lineman David Bakhtiari and Elgton JenkinsThe former made it clear earlier this week that he expects to be recovered from the torn ACL which essentially cost him all of last season. The latter, meanwhile, should man the right tackle spot with Bakhtiari back, giving the Packers a formidable bookend tandem.

Tight end Robert Tonyan will also play, after he spent the offseason recovering from his own ACL tear. He, along with running back Aaron Jones, profile as significant contributors in the Packers’ passing game, especially without Lazard on the field.

David Bakhtiari Expects To Play In Week 1

David Bakhtiari has not played a full game since his New Year’s Eve 2020 ACL tear. The All-Pro Packers left tackle has undergone three knee surgeries since that setback, with a separate knee issue necessitating the third procedure. While it is taken a long time, the 10th-year pro expects to be back in Week 1 against the Vikings.

The Packers took Bakhtiari off their active/PUP list late in training camp, opening the door to a September return. Bakhtiari went through 11-on-11 drills Monday and indicated he has been doing so for “several” practices now, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com notes.

I can get through the season,” Bakhtiari said. “It’s going to be fine. You have to just manage while playing. I’m just getting back in the swing of things. So, I mean, I think there’s normal rust and then new normal with three surgeries, so just kind of working that out and figuring out what my routine is.

The 30-year-old blocker played all of 27 snaps last season — during a meaningless Week 18 game in Detroit — but was not healthy enough to suit up for Green Bay’s divisional-round game. The Packers having their highly paid tackle back in place would obviously be a tremendous boost, considering they played without both their Pro Bowl O-linemen for much of last season.

Elgton Jenkins‘ status is not known, per Demovsky, who reiterates the versatile performer is expected to be Green Bay’s right tackle this season. Once he is healthy, that is. Jenkins suffered a torn ACL on Nov. 21, 2021. It would not surprise if the Packers gave the contract-year blocker, who was a Pro Bowler while at left guard in 2020 before going down while filling in for Bakhtiari at left tackle last season, more time to recover. Jenkins might be ahead of schedule, with a stay on the reserve/PUP list once rumored. But it is uncertain if he will start in Minnesota.

This duo’s statuses were a constant talking point for the three-time reigning NFC North champions this offseason. Bakhtiari is a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro. His absence in the 2020 NFC championship game cost the Packers dearly, though Matt LaFleur‘s team won 13 games without him last year. Bakhtiari and Jenkins suiting up together for the first time since Week 16 of the 2020 season would end this lengthy chapter of O-line uncertainty and help the Packers as they transition to a period of pass-catcher uncertainty.

Packers Activate LT David Bakhtiari From PUP List

The Packers could be closer to having their top offensive lineman back in time for the regular season. Green Bay has activated left tackle David Bakhtiari from the active/PUP list, as announced by head coach Matt LaFleur (Twitter link via ESPN’s Adam Schefter). 

The 30-year-old was placed on the list at the start of training camp last month, after it was revealed that he had undergone a third knee surgery since suffering a torn ACL on December 31, 2020. That injury has limited him to just one appearance since – a meaningless regular season contest against the Lions last year – and left the Packers with major concerns along the offensive line.

“He’s only going to do individual [drills],” LaFleur said, via Schefter’s colleague Rob Demovsky“It’ll just be individual. It’s just the next step, but we are excited to get him out there on the grass. We’ll take it one day at a time.”

The two-time All-Pro has been a full-time starter on the blindside since his rookie season in 2013, but the recovery process from this injury has left his level of play upon his return very much in doubt. Pro Bowl guard Elgton Jenkins filled in for Bakhtiari at left tackle last season before suffering his own ACL tear; with the 2019 second-rounder operating at right tackle in training camp, Yosh Nijman as practiced at left tackle so far.

“He’s been making really good progress, and mentally, I think he’s in a very good place as well,” LaFleur said of Bakhtiari. He didn’t add specifics on a recovery timeline, meaning that it is far from a certainty that the Packers will have their second highest-paid player by Week 1 of the regular season. Today’s news is nevertheless a significant step towards a return to the field at some point.

Packers Notes: Rodgers, Bakhtiari, Jenkins

The Packers are hoping a pair of rookie wideouts will help replace the production of former receiver Davante Adams. Second-round pick Christian Watson and fourth-round pick Romeo Doubs will be expected to contribute during the 2022 campaign, and while the duo obviously doesn’t have the expertise of a veteran wideout, quarterback Aaron Rodgers understands GM Brian Gutekunst‘s decision to pivot toward youth.

“We’re still a draft-and-develop team,” Rodgers told SI.com’s Albert Breer. “I know we say that a lot; that’s most of the league, they’d like to be like that. There are less teams like the old Washington [teams] when they were trying to buy a team in free agency in many years. You’d like to draft guys and develop them and give them second contracts in-house. But there are needs and there are opportunities. I’ve always felt like adding one or two veteran guys at or around the minimum can really pay huge dividends in important spots.

“We’ve relied on young guys for much of my career. There are pros and cons to both those things. But I like Brian and his staff, and I think everybody in the building, myself included, has tried to focus on growing a little bit more and communicating a little bit more.”

Rodgers mentions a team’s need for cheap veterans, and Breer notes that the Packers are still open to adding another receiver. Once Watson returns to the practice field, Green Bay’s young duo will join Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, and Randall Cobb atop the depth chart.

More notes out of Green Bay:

  • With Tom Brady turning 45 last week, Rodgers was asked if he could envision himself playing in the NFL until that age. “No, I don’t,” Rodgers answered definitively (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). Rodgers is set to turn 39 in December.
  • During a recent podcast appearance, Rodgers admitted to using a psychedelic called ayahuasca. According to Peter King of Football Morning in America, the NFL won’t be retroactively punishing Rodgers for use of the plant, especially since he didn’t test positive for a banned substance. Both the league and the NFLPA confirmed to PFT’s Mike Florio that ayahuasca is “neither a prohibited compound under the substance-abuse policy nor a PED.” As Florio notes, there is some precedent for the NFL going after a player who admits to using “a given substance,” with the league previously attempting to put Randy Moss in a drug-test program after he admitted to smoking marijuana “every blue moon.”
  • Some good news on the injury front for the Packers. Gutekunst told reporters that he’s hopeful offensive linemen David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins will both return from their respective injuries early on during the 2022 campaign. “They are both doing really, really well. I think they both have a shot to play early in the season,” Gutekunst said (h/t to Zach Kruse of PackersWire). “They are progressing very well.” Bakhtiari tore his ACL in December of 2020, and he was active for only one January contest during the 2021 campaign. Jenkins tore his ACL during Week 11 of the 2021 season. Both offensive linemen were placed on PUP to begin training camp, and there’s probably little chance we see them during the preseason.
  • The Packers had in a handful of RBs for a workout earlier this week. According to ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter), Dexter Williams, Kalen Ballage, Jaylen Samuels, Stevie Scott, and Calvin Turner auditioned for the team. Green Bay ended up signing Williams earlier today.