The Green Bay Packers have some important decisions to make this offseason. One of those decisions is what to do about former All Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari. Today we examine why the Packers should or should not bring Bakhtiari back in 2024.

Why the Packers Should Keep David Bakhtiari

Bakhtiari has been a great player since the team selected him in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He has earned three Pro Bowl berths and been named All Pro twice. Bakhtiari is one of the best pass protectors in the NFL. He did a great job of protecting the blindside of Aaron Rodgers for a decade.

He graded out very well in 2023 in the one game he played, protecting Jordan Love.

Bakhtiari is a better pass blocker than run blocker, but he’s no slouch at opening holes for the running game. The former Colorado star has been a consistent player when blocking for running backs. Players like Aaron Jones owe a lot to Bakhtiari.

Bakhtiari has been consistent when he’s on the field and provides the team with steady leadership in the locker room. On a team with few veterans, Bakhtiari gives the Packers an experienced man who has played in nine postseason games.

He’s also been a great member of the Packers family and the Green Bay community during his time with the team.

All Pro left tackles don’t grow on trees. When you have one, it’s tough to let one go.

Why the Packers Should Not Bring Back David Bakhtiari

One of the NFL’s biggest cliches is the most important ability is availability. Unfortunately for the team and for Bakhtiari, he hasn’t been available much recently.

Since suffering a knee injury before the 2020 regular season finale, Bakhtari has played a total of 13 games over the course of the last three seasons.

Bakhtiari currently will cost the Packers nearly $40 million against the cap if he stays on the roster under his current deal. That’s a lot of cap space for a player who has played only 13 of a possible 50 games over the past three seasons.

The Packers could save roughly $20 million in cap space by parting ways with Bakhtiari and that’s a lot of cap space the team could put to good use.

Rasheed Walker took over the starting left tackle job after Bakhtiari was placed on injured reserve after Week 1 and improved as the season progressed. By the end of the year, Walker was a solid left tackle. The 2024 campaign will be his third year in the NFL and potentially his second year as a starter, so he still has time and room to improve.

What David Bakhtiari Would Cost

As mentioned, GM Brian Gutekunst could release Bakhtiari and save roughly $20 million in cap space. Realistically, the only way Bakhtiari could stay in Green Bay is to restructure his deal to lower the 2024 cap hit. Of course, we don’t know if Bakhtiari is willing to do that, especially if there’s another team willing to honor his present deal or give him more money than the Packers would be willing to pay him.

The Packers could also try to trade Bakhtiari and get something in return for him. Certainly, Rodgers would love to have his old left tackle and friend join him with the Jets. Other teams may also be willing to part with a day three pick to take a chance on Bakhtiari.

Gutekunst could also select a new heir apparent at left tackle in the 2024 NFL Draft. Whether it’s in the first round or later, any rookie player would give the Pack two options on their rookie deals as opposed to the much more expensive option in Bakhtiari.

While Bakhtiari has been a great Packer for more than a decade, the cost of bringing him back would be very high. It would also be a big gamble to trust that Bakhtiari could give the Packers 17 games plus possibly playoffs on those knees.

The odds are slim that the Packers will keep Bakhtiari next season.




Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

Click here for more great Packers coverage