Packers Projected to Cut $92 Million All-Pro Veteran

Getty The Green Bay Packers could make some major changes this offseason.

The Green Bay Packers are facing some difficult decisions this offseason, but if general manager Brian Gutekunst decides to usher in a new era, some established veterans like David Bakhtiari could be left looking for work elsewhere.

As the Packers wait for Aaron Rodgers to make a decision about his future, trade speculation has run rampant as teams and even former teammate Davante Adams push for a potential trade. If that happens, Jordan Love will finally have an opportunity to be the starter, but Gutekunst will have to find a way to get the Packers under the salary cap.

Cuts to star players will be a very real possibility this offseason, and as Brad Spielberger with Pro Football Focus points out, Bakhtiari would be the team’s top cut candidate.

“Bakhtiari is unquestionably one of the best pass protectors in the entire NFL when healthy,” Spielberger said. “He earned a near-elite 87.8 pass-blocking grade in 2022, which was his lowest mark since 2015 — but his knee injury effectively warrants a daily status update at this point, which may make it hard to justify paying him $17.5 million in 2023 after logging 624 total snaps over the past two seasons. ”

Bakhtiari and the Packers signed a four-year contract extension worth $92 million in 2020.

Who Else Could Be a Cut Candidate This Offseason?

Parting ways with an All-Pro like Bakhtiari will be a tough pill to swallow for some Packers fans, but given the team’s financial situation, it may be necessary.

As things stand immediately following the Super Bowl, the Packers are projected at almost $16.5 million over the cap. To make matters worse, the Packers would also lose another $8.7 million if Rodgers is traded before June 1 thanks to a $40 million dead cap hit.

Gutekunst will be forced to get creative as possible to get under the cap, which could include plenty of contract restructures. However, it could also mean cuttings ties with players like Bakhtiari.

Star running back Aaron Jones is another potential cut candidate. Despite being Green Bay’s most reliable offensive weapon, the Packers would save $10 million in cap space by parting ways with him. Veteran pass rusher Preston Smith is another option, with his release clearing more than $3 million.

It’s unlikely that all three of these veterans would be on the chopping block, but even if the Packers are able to get creative with restructures and kicking cap space down the road, there’s a good chance that at least one established veteran is going to be playing elsewhere next season.

Is Jordan Love Ready to Be the Starter?

Regardless of who stays on the roster for the 2023 season, it’s looking more and more likely that Love is going to be the starting quarterback next year.

Love was taken in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft with the expectation that he would be Rodgers’ successor. That plan was delayed a couple of years after back-to-back MVP seasons from the future Hall of Famer, with Love only starting one game through his first three years in the league.

Packers fans got to see some extended playing time for Love this past season, with the 24-year-old completing 6 of 9 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles after replacing an injured Rodgers. It was the most poised and confident Love has looked for the Packers, and could help him step into the starting job in 2023.

That being said, Love has reportedly considered a trade request if Rodgers returns in 2023. If that’s the case, then only one of Green Bay’s top two quarterbacks could be returning for next season.

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