Packers’ David Bakhtiari Breaks Silence on Possibility of Release

Packers News David Bakhtiari NFL Rumors

Getty Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari.

David Bakhtiari‘s future with the Green Bay Packers is uncertain heading into the 2024 offseason after another major knee surgery, but at least the five-time All-Pro left tackle is not letting the unknown dampen his sense of humor.

Bakhtiari broke his silence on the possibility of departing Green Bay this offseason after a February 15 article from The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman led to some misinformation.

Schneidman wrote the Packers will “assuredly trade or release Bakhtiari” during the offseason with his salary-cap hit ballooning to $40 million for the 2024 season and his surgically repaired knee proving to be problematic. He later clarified on X, though, that his words were “an opinion based on reading between the lines” after NFL aggregator Dov Kleiman spun his article into a claim that the Packers will soon release Bakhtiari.

Naturally, Bakhtiari didn’t miss his opportunity to make light of the situation.

“If I get fired because of this, I blame you,” Bakhtiari responded to Schneidman on X.

Jokes Aside, Packers Could Release David Bakhtiari

Now, Bakhtiari is clearly joking around with a local beat reporter with whom he has a rapport, but there is no denying the Packers have a major decision to make with him.

Bakhtiari has proven he can still perform at an elite level when healthy enough to play, but he has also missed 38 regular-season games over the past three seasons primarily due to complications with his knee. During the 2023 season, he suited up in just one game — the season opener — before his knee forced him to undergo another surgery.

The Packers also have the financial side of things to consider. They signed him to a four-year, $92 million extension less than two months before he first tore his ACL, but he is entering the final year of his deal in 2024. The Packers could also save roughly $20.93 million against the 2024 salary cap if they decide to release or trade him.

Honestly, it is no wonder why Schneidman wrote that the team will “assuredly” either release or trade him during the 2024 offseason, even if it is just guesswork on his part.

The Packers are fortunately in a solid position to replace Bakhtiari if it comes to that. Rasheed Walker, a 2022 seventh-round pick, could be a viable starting option after he filled in for Bakhtiari for most of the 2023 season and showed a good amount of promise. The Packers also hold the No. 25 overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft, which they could potentially use to add another long-term starting candidate to their roster.

Could Aaron Rodgers & Jets Provide a Trade Option?

If the Packers move on from Bakhtiari in 2024, it stands to reason they will most likely release him from their roster. Finding a trade partner for a 32-year-old left tackle with significant injury concerns would be difficult, especially one due a $20.2 million salary.

As Schneidman suggested, though, it is possible the New York Jets could have interest in trading for Bakhtiari and reuniting him with former teammate Aaron Rodgers.

The Athletic’s Zack Rosenblatt and Dianna Russini noted in their January 31 article about the Jets’ failed 2023 season that Rodgers had Bakhtiari on his “wish list” of players he would like to see join him in New York. The Jets did end up signing a few of his former teammates — Allen Lazard, Billy Turner, Randall Cobb and Tim Boyle — but adding someone like Bakhtiari on such an expensive contract would be much tougher.

If the Jets are interested in Bakhtiari for 2024, though, they might not feel like a trade is necessary. The Packers will most likely release Bakhtiari if they cannot find a trade partner, meaning the Jets could have an opportunity to sign him under new contract terms instead of giving up draft assets to acquire him at a more expensive price.

A trade is not impossible if multiple teams show interest, but patience might help the Jets get exactly what they want without forking over a draft pick as compensation.

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