The Green Bay Packers renewed David Bakhtiari in November 2020, inking the All-Pro left tackle for four more years at a cost of $92 million, of which $65.1 million is guaranteed.
Unfortunately for Bakhtiari and the Packers, the tackle just before the final week of the 2020 regular season tore his ACL in practice. He missed his entire 2021 campaign to rehabilitate it and he has yet to play in 2022 at all.
The five-time All-Pro has been a core member of the team since his fourth-round draft in 2013, but given the size of his contract coupled with questions about the health of his knee, it’s fair to ask what his future holds at Green bay
Ken Ingallsa salary cap expert who only pays attention to Green Bay’s cap shared some key information on when the team could potentially make a decision on Bakhtiari’s future.
The reality of Bakhtiari’s contract situation makes his future in a Packers uniform bleak. His future cap hits will be ridiculous: He’s slated to hit a $28.58 million hit in 2023 and $32.58 million in 2024 (figures via Spotrac).
According to Ingalls, Bak’s $9.5M Signing Bonus Will Be Key. It is due by the third day of league year 2023, which begins March 15 – so March 17, 2023 will be the date when this is scheduled to be marked. If Green Bay pays his signing bonus by that date, he will very likely be there for the 2023 season.
It’s also possible the team will veer away from him at some point – particularly if his knee doesn’t hold up – but they likely will before March 17th.
“It’s a nightmare,” Bakhtiari told The Athletic in July 2022 of his struggle to get back to 100%. “My nightmare of having to live and I don’t know how many days ago it’s been but I’m just looking forward to waking up.”
Before tearing his ACL, Bakhtiari started in 118 games for the Packers and never missed more than four games in any of his eight seasons. The veteran offensive lineman, who turns 31 on Sept. 30, has been wary of returning too soon.
“I played sick,” he told The Athletic. “I’ve played with broken ribs before. I was playing with an (overworked) hip flexor. all that stuff There’s no need for me to take it out on any of you and cheer on any team we’re up against. That’s why I said last year that if I walk between the white lines, I’m 100 percent ready to go.”
“My knee feels normal and that’s the biggest plus,” Bak added. “Now I just get that normal feeling back playing football so that’s what it is, the strain, the stress, the strength, but we don’t really have an ACL issue. It’s actually been a long time since we put this chapter to bed. There are (are) just other problems we are navigating around. … I would say I really enjoy the way my knee works, functions and moves.”
So much will depend on how quickly Bakhtiari gets back on the field and how well he then performs.