David Bakhtiari

Packers Place Nine Players On PUP To Start Camp

Sat, 4:07pm:

As mentioned as a possibility last night, the Packers made an addition to their PUP list today, placing star left tackle David Bakhtiari on the list after not including him in their first moves last night, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.

Bakhtiari missed all but one game last season as he recovered from an ACL tear that he suffered in Week 16 of the 2020 NFL season. He spent most of 2021 rehabilitating before finally making his season-debut in a Week 18 game that had no bearing on the team’s playoff positioning. He was inactive for Green Bay’s playoff loss to San Francisco.

Reiterating what was said yesterday, there is no need for Packers fans to fret quite yet. This is a natural process for NFL teams, especially concerning players returning from a major injury. As long as Bakhtiari comes off the PUP list in the preseason, he should have no restrictions going into regular season play.

Fri, 9:52pm:

As many teams are making necessary adjustments to their injury lists, the Packers joined in today, adding twelve players overall, nine to the physically unable to perform list and three to the non-football injury list, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. 

The biggest surprise on the list was rookie second-round pick Christian Watson. An injury has not been disclosed for the wide receiver, who recently signed his rookie contract. Similarly, undrafted rookie defensive tackle Hauati Pututau was placed on the list for an undisclosed reason.

Four players placed on the PUP list were expected, as they are returning from major injuries. Tight end Robert Tonyan missed half of last season after tearing his ACL in late-October. The same game saw then-rookie running back Kylin Hill suffer a season-ending knee injury. Shortly after, tackle Elgton Jenkins tore his ACL, as well, ending his season after only eight starts. Linebacker Randy Ramsey also suffered an season-ending injury before the season even began after serving in 2020 as a core special teamer.

The three remaining players, kicker Mason Crosby, defensive lineman Dean Lowry, and running back Patrick Taylor, were all placed on the list with no information as to what has put them there.

That’s five expected starters, Watson, Tonyan, Jenkins, Lowry, and Crosby, on the PUP. Packers’ fans will be relieved not to see left tackle David Bakhtiari placed on the PUP list a year after missing all but one game last year recovering from an ACL tear suffered in late-2020.

There could always be additions to the list, as it isn’t official until Tuesday. Additionally, a player can come off of the list anytime during the preseason and can’t be on the list once they’ve practiced with the team. Any players still on the PUP list at the start of the regular season will be required to sit out a minimum of six games, but they won’t count against the roster as the team trims to 53 players.

While the number of players on the list may be alarming, there’s little to worry about as of right now for these Packers. As long as they come off of the list before the season starts, there will be no league-restrictions on their participation.

Latest On Packers OL David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins

The Packers face significant questions along their offensive line, not as a result of personnel or performance, but due to injuries. Both David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins continue to recover from ACL tears, which will remain an important storyline into the summer. 

Bakhtiari suffered the injury in practice last December, which dealt a significant blow to the team’s playoff run. There was optimism that he would be able to return to full health at some point in the 2021 campaign, but things didn’t go according to plan. He wasn’t activated until November, and only saw the field in Week 18. He was deactivated the following week, meaning he missed a second straight postseason.

That has, understandably, left the Packers cautious in their handling of the 30-year-old. The team made it clear recently that Bakhtiari wouldn’t participate in OTAs or minicamp, aiming instead for a return to action by training camp in late July.

“Time will tell,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said, via ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, regarding the two-time All-Pro’s summertime availability. “We fully anticipate him being ready to go, but we did last year, as well… But we feel good about the work that he’s put in and where he’s at.”

Assuming Bakhtiari is able to regain his left tackle spot, that would leave Jenkins in need of a new position for 2022. He filled in at the blindside before suffering his own torn ACL in November, which leaves his Week 1 availability in doubt. Whenever he is able to return, the Pro Bowler could return to left guard, where he began his career. However, as Demovsky notes, Jenkins could move to right tackle as a replacement for Billy Turner.

With their top two o-linemen on the way to full health, the unit is in line to perform at a higher level in 2022 than it did last year. While it remains to be seen, of course, if Bakhtiari and Jenkins will regain their high-end form upon return, there is cause for optimism for two of the team’s most important offensive contributors.

OL Notes: Browns, Bakhtiari, Pats, Bears

Although the Browns signed the Seahawks’ primary center of the past two years (Ethan Pocic), they are first attempting to see if one of their recent backups can claim J.C. Tretter‘s old job. Nick Harris is working as Cleveland’s first-string center during OTAs, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal notes. A fifth-round pick out of Washington in 2020, Harris made one start in each of the past two seasons — the late-2021 outing came when Tretter contracted COVID-19 — but he practiced extensively with the Browns’ first-unit O-line last season. Tretter dealt with injuries, and while the veteran played through them, he often sat out practices or worked in a limited capacity. This gave Harris a runway to full-fledged starter action and gave the Browns enough confidence to make Tretter a March cap casualty. The NFLPA president remains a free agent.

Ditching Tretter, 30, remains a gamble for the Browns, who still hold the NFL’s most cap space. Tretter graded as Pro Football Focus’ sixth-best center in 2021, started all but one game in five Cleveland seasons and provided a solid pivot on one of the league’s best lines. Here is the latest from the O-line scene:

  • The ACL tear David Bakhtiari suffered on New Year’s Eve 2020 wrecked his 2021 season, limiting him to just one game (Week 18). The Packers are proceeding cautiously with their two-time All-Pro left tackle this offseason. Matt LaFleur confirmed the team is holding Bakhtiari out of OTAs, via ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky (on Twitter), for conservation purposes. The expectation is the 10th-year veteran returns for training camp. Still, the lengthy recovery Bakhtiari required from his injury makes his status worth monitoring ahead of an age-31 season.
  • New England picked up Isaiah Wynn‘s fifth-year option in 2021, guaranteeing the injury-prone left tackle $10.4MM this season. But he has missed OTA time, leaving recently re-signed right tackle Trent Brown — the left tackle on the Patriots’ 2018 Super Bowl-winning team — to fill in on the left side. The Pats have made a few trades involving contract-year talent under Bill Belichick — Sony Michel, Brandin Cooks and Jamie Collins being recent examples. If New England was to dangle Wynn, Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes teams would be willing to fork over a reasonable return (subscription required). That might be a bridge too far, considering the Pats already traded a veteran blocker (Shaq Mason) and saw Brown’s run of absences continue with eight more last season.
  • The Bears have 2021 second-rounder Teven Jenkins pegged as their right tackle starter. Jenkins returned from preseason back surgery to start two games as a rookie, but he was close to 350 pounds last year. The Chicago blocker is back near his listed 320-pound weight, with Adam Jahns of The Athletic noting Jenkins is checking in around 325. Larry Borom is penciled in to take over for Jason Peters at left tackle.

Packers Rework OL David Bakhtiari’s Contract

The Packers continue to open up some cap space. According to ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter), the team has reworked left tackle David Bakhtiari‘s contract.

[RELATED: Packers Restructure Aaron Jones’ Contract]

Specifically, the organization converted $11.58MM of Bakhtiari‘s 2022 compensation into a signing bonus. This move created “significant cap space” for the summer. In 2020, the Packers inked Bakhtiari to a four-year, $105.5MM extension that made him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history.

It didn’t take long for the 2013 fourth-round pick to emerge into a starter, as the rookie lineman started 16 games at left tackle that season. The lineman has continually improved, culminating in him earning five-straight All-Pro nods (including a pair of first-team honors) between 2016 and 2020.

The veteran tore his ACL toward the end of the 2020 campaign, and he only managed to see the field for one contest during the 2021 season. Still, today’s transaction is consistent with GM Brian Gutekunst‘s recent remarks regarding his expectations for a clean bill of health for Bakhtiari in 2022 (via Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk).

In a January interview with CheeseheadTV.com, which is well-worth a read for Packers fans, Bakhtiari himself detailed his struggles to return to the field in 2021, including the second surgery he underwent in November and the troubling fluid buildups in his knee. Like Gutekunst, though, Bakhtiari does not anticipate any health issues going forward, and he says his knee is structurally sound.

The Packers front office has been busy this week. The team also reworked the contracts of running back Aaron Jones and defensive tackle Kenny Clark.

Rory Parks contributed to this post.

David Bakhtiari Not Playing Vs. Niners

Nine-year veteran tackle David Bakhtiari missed nearly the entire 2021 NFL season after tearing his ACL on New Year’s Eve during the 2020 season. Unfortunately, he will have to continue waiting to play in his first playoff game since January of 2019, as the team announced, via Twitter, that he will be inactive for tonight’s game against the 49ers. 

Bakhtiari had made a return for the Packers’ regular season finale, making the start in Detroit, but only playing 40% of the team’s offensive snaps. Head Coach Matt LaFleur shook off the early exit in a postgame press conference stating, “I wouldn’t say it’s anything we’re concerned about,” but it appears some continual discomfort throughout the week will keep the two-time All Pro from making a postseason return, just yet.

In the absence of Bakhtiari this year, the Packers have employed Elgton Jenkins at the blindside tackle position. Despite the reshuffled offensive line and several other injuries to key players, Green Bay still secured a first-round bye and homefield advantage. They will work tonight to extend their season another week and give Bakhtiari at least one more chance for a postseason return.

Other inactives for the Packers listed for the game tonight were safeties Shawn Davis & Vernon Scott, linebacker Jonathan Garvin, and wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The 49ers will be without cornerbacks Ambry Thomas & Deommodore Lenoir, safety Jarrod Wilson, running back Trey Sermon, linebacker Marcell Harris, offensive lineman Jaylon Moore, and defensive lineman Maurice Hurst. Packers’ cornerback Jaire Alexander is expected to play tonight after being listed as questionable.

Latest On Packers’ Injured Players

Despite many of their top players not seeing much action this season, the Packers secured the NFC’s No. 1 seed for a second straight year. Green Bay’s injured players have additional time to prepare for the playoffs, thanks to the first-round bye, and some are rounding into form.

David Bakhtiari has not played since suffering an ACL tear during practice on New Year’s Eve 2020. However, the All-Pro left tackle practiced fully for the first time this season Friday. He is questionable for Sunday’s game in Detroit. Matt LaFleur said the ninth-year veteran blocker looked “really good” in practice this week, and although the third-year HC will not commit to playing him Sunday, a return for the Packers’ first playoff game should now be expected (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky).

Out since suffering a shoulder injury in Week 4, Jaire Alexander is ramping up after being activated from IR recently. LaFleur said the Pro Bowl cornerback will not play in Week 18. Alexander returned from the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday, and the lack of practice time this week led to LaFleur’s decision to keep him on ice another week. Signs point to Alexander returning for Green Bay’s first playoff game.

Center Josh Myers will return against the Lions, LaFleur said. The Packers officially activated Myers from IR, and he has no injury designation going into Sunday’s game. The second-round rookie has been out since suffering a knee injury on the first drive of the Packers’ Week 6 game.

Lucas Patrick has taken over at center and is in line to keep that first-string gig this week, but LaFleur is not ruling out Myers returning as a starter in the playoffs, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. A scenario in which both are in the team’s starting lineup will almost certainly be in play.

Although the team designated Randall Cobb for return last week, the veteran slot receiver will not come back against the Lions. This adds up, with Cobb’s core injury requiring several weeks’ worth of rehab. Cobb is tracking toward a playoff return, Demovsky tweets. Regarding Aaron Rodgers‘ status for the Detroit rematch, he will start. LaFleur did not necessarily plan to start the MVP favorite, indicating he does not believe Rodgers needs to play Sunday. But the QB prefers to start, Silverstein tweets.

Packers’ David Bakhtiari Out Vs. Ravens

In advance of what could be a division-clinching win, the Packers learned that they will still not have the services of their best offensive linemen. Left tackle David Bakhtiari is out for Week 15 against the Ravens, reports Tom Silverstein of the Green Bay Post-Gazette

Bakhtiari practiced throughout the week, the first time he was able to do so after sitting out three weeks due to his second left knee surgery. The 30-year-old has not played in 2021, after his initial injury last New Year’s Eve. Green Bay has missed the four-time Pro Bowler all year, of course, but especially so since losing Elgton Jenkins in November. Look for the team to continue with Yosuah NijmanDennis Kelly and Billy Turner at offensive tackle.

While providing the update on Bakhtiari, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur added that defensive tackle Kenny Clark is unlikely to play. The 26-year-old was added to the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday, giving him little time to become available by Sunday. The 2019 Pro Bowler has 42 tackles and four sacks this season. In his absence, fifth-round rookie T.J. Slaton could start at nose guard.

Despite those setbacks, the Packers will still be favored to win in Baltimore, especially if Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is unable to play. A victory on Sunday would seal the NFC North title for Green Bay, as would a loss by the Vikings against the Bears.

Latest On Packers’ David Bakhtiari

Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero). That means Bakhtiari won’t be able to practice or play this week, but the procedure should enable him to return sometime before the season is through. 

[RELATED: Packers’ Jenkins Done For Year]

Bakhtiari tore his ACL at the tail end of December 2020, forcing him to undergo reconstructive surgery in January. He was clearly missed in the playoffs, as the Buccaneers’ front seven rushed the Packers’ backfield with ease. Now, in the wake of Elgton Jenkins‘ own ACL tear, the Packers need him more than ever.

The All-Pro left tackle was activated from the PUP list earlier this month, making him eligible for his 2021 debut. He’s still a few weeks away from seeing the field, but the clean-up surgery is expected to put him on the right track.

Before the injury, Bakhtiari had never missed more than four games in one season. One of the game’s best protectors when healthy, Bakhtiari has earned four Pro Bowl selections and and two First-Team All-Pro nods.

For now, the Packers will be leaning heavily on Yosuah Nijman, Dennis Kelly, and other would-be reserves to hold down the fort. They’ll be short-staffed on Sunday when they host the Rams this week, but Bakhtiari may be ready to face the Bears on Dec. 12, after the Packers’ Week 13 bye.

Packers Activate T David Bakhtiari

David Bakhtiari is now eligible to make his 2021 debut Sunday. The Packers activated their All-Pro left tackle from the PUP list Wednesday, the team announced.

The ninth-year blocker returned to practice nearly three weeks ago, but Green Bay has been cautious with his ramp-up. Wednesday marked the last day the Packers could activate him this year. While Bakhtiari is not a lock to suit up against the Seahawks, it would certainly be a big addition for the Packers, who are coming off a loss and a rather turbulent week.

Bakhtiari went down with an ACL tear during a New Year’s Eve practice and has spent nearly a year rehabbing. His injury played a key role in determining the NFC’s Super Bowl entrant last season, with Buccaneers edge rushers teeing off on the Packers’ tackles. Coming into this season, the most games Bakhtiari had missed in one campaign was four. He topped that more than a month ago.

Whenever the 30-year-old edge protector returns, it stands to reshuffle the Packers’ offensive line, which has used multiple left tackles this season. Versatile standout Elgton Jenkins, who has been the team’s primary Bakhtiari sub this year, will likely be shifted back to an interior role. Bakhtiari is a four-time Pro Bowler and has made two All-Pro first teams.

It is uncertain if Aaron Rodgers will be under center for the Packers. The reigning MVP remains on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list, but he would be eligible to do so if symptom-free. Rodgers is eligible to return to the team Saturday. But the possibility the Packers could have the Rodgers-Bakhtiari tandem back would represent quite the change from how their offense looked in Kansas City.

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).