After his latest injury, it has become clear that Bakhtiari can no longer be relied upon to play on a consistent basis for Green Bay. When he has been healthy over the past few seasons, the left tackle has performed at a Pro-Bowl level. But as the old cliché makes clear, the best ability an athlete can possess is availability. Bakhtiari simply isn’t available enough to make him worth the money he costs the Packers.
Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported on Thursday, September 28, that Bakhtiari is bound for the injured reserve list (IR) yet again. The move guarantees he will remain sidelined for the Packers’ next four games after missing two of the team’s first three contests this season.
“Given the complexity of Bakhtiati’s knee injury, it could keep him out longer … and it’s not clear when or if Bakhtiari might return this season, though he has no plans to retire, per Rapoport,” Eric Edholm of NFL.com wrote on Thursday. “Rapoport added that Bakhtiari had his knee scoped on Wednesday, which is the precursor to a more substantial surgery down the line.”
Considering Bakhtiari’s cost and his relative unavailability, the time has come for the Packers to try and trade the five-time All-Pro. If he is injured for the remainder of the season and the team can’t get a deal done, cutting the offensive lineman next summer is the Packers’ only real option.
David Bakhtiari Costs Too Much, Plays Too Little to Remain with Packers on Current Contract
Bakhtiari has played in just 13 of Green Bay’s last 42 games (including the contest against the Detroit Lions on Thursday night) since tearing his ACL on December 31, 2020. Nearly every issue he has had since then is related to that initial injury. That was also the last time the left tackle earned Pro-Bowl or All-Pro honors.
He entered the current campaign hopeful after making 11 starts in 2022. This season is the third of Bakhtiari’s four-year, $92 million contract. His cap hit is still nearly $21.3 million in 2023 despite an offseason restructure that cut the number down from nearly $30 million.
Because of that restructure, Bakhtiari will cost the team nearly $40.5 million next season. However, the Packers can cut him over the summer and save nearly $21 million in the process.
Most Likely Outcome is Packers Cut David Bakhtiari Next Offseason
The most likely scenario is that Green Bay tries to trade for Bakhtiari next offseason, but his cap number of $40 million will make getting a deal done exceedingly difficult considering it’s paired with such a significant history of injury.
Even if the Packers can find a partner, they will probably have to foot a good portion of the left tackle’s massive cap bill in 2024 and still won’t get nearly the trade value a team could normally expect for a healthy player of Bakhtiari’s caliber.
As such, the most likely outcome is that Green Bay will cut ties with Bakhtiari sometime next summer and eat the $19 million in dead salary cap money it will cost the team to do so. Cutting Bakhtiari this season is a non-starter, as the contract restructure rendered his dead cap hit north of $40 million in 2023 — meaning it will cost nearly twice as much to cut him as it will to keep him for the remainder of the year, injured or not.