Getty David Bakhtiari of the Packers
At this point, we know that an NFL parting ways with David Bakhtiari is almost certainly in the cards for the Packers. There’s a chance his contract could be restructured to allow him to remain in a Green Bay jersey, and his veteran presence would be welcome on a team clearly lacking a strong, experienced voice once his knee problems return appear. appeared after week 1.
Since his first cruciate ligament tear in December 2020, Bakhtiari has been unable to stay on the field. He’s been excellent when he’s played — he’s still among the top left tackles — but he’s only played 13 games in three seasons. And he’s 32, the oldest man on a Packers team in the midst of a youth movement.
As a result, Bleacher Report is calling for Bakhtiari to be one of three Packers who “must” be cut in 2024.
“The NFL is a business and the Packers really can’t move forward without at least restructuring the tackle’s contract. Even that would have to involve a pay cut to offset the potential savings that would come from a trade or release this offseason,” B/R’s Alex Ballentine wrote this week.
Cutting David Bakhtiari Saves Packers Money
Certainly the finances do not support Bakhtiari remaining in office. Paying a player not to play for you is a hard pill to swallow, but that’s probably what Green Bay would have to do unless there was a major restructuring of Bakhtiari’s contract – one that he is willing to accept has little incentive.
“David Bakhtiari is expected to have a cap hit of $40.5 million next season,” Ballentine wrote. “If the team were to release him, they would only have to pay about $19.1 million of that in the form of a dead cap fee, according to Spotrac.”
That’s true, and that’s why many assume Bakhtiari will be fired. He can take the Packers’ money and sign a small deal somewhere else. But Ballentine makes some assumptions that might be questioned about Bakhtiari. Most notably, he is no longer the same player he was when he took the field.
“Unfortunately, injuries probably shortened Bakhtiari’s career and definitely affected his game as he reached his 30s. The 32-year-old was placed on injured reserve due to another knee injury after playing just one game this season,” he wrote. “When Bakhtiari was healthy, he was serviceable, but he’s just not reliable enough to stick around.”
The grades show he can still play
Yes, Bakhtiari wasn’t reliable, but when he played, he was the same old David Bakhtiari and remained one of the best left tackles in the game. In Week 1 against Chicago, he posted an excellent 78.3 grade on Pro Football Focus, with an excellent 89.9 grade in pass blocking.
It was noted that Bakhtiari wants to play again and that he wants to be in the NFL even after recovering from his fifth knee surgery in three years. And we shouldn’t assume he doesn’t want to be a Packer again.
Remember, before the season, few were as excited about this team as Bakhtiari.
Here’s what he told The Athletic: “Defensively, I love the pieces that are there and I don’t think anyone is perfect, but we’ve got some pretty damn solid pieces. … I would like to see us have a young team that no one knows anything about, where everyone counts, and that’s great, but a relentless young team that beats you to death and doesn’t give up because you’re just too young , to know damn better. That’s what I’d like to see. That’s a recipe for success for a young team.”
Sean Deveney is a veteran sports reporter who covers the NBA and NFL for Heavy.com. He has been writing for Heavy since 2019 and has more than two decades of NBA reporting experience, including 17 years as a senior NBA reporter for the Sporting News. Deveney is the author of seven nonfiction books, including “Fun City,” “Before Wrigley Were Wrigley,” and “Facing Michael Jordan.” More about Sean Deveney
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