Packers Make Final Call on Trading $23 Million All-Pro

Matt LaFleur, Brian Gutekunst

Getty Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur (left) speaks with general manager Brian Gutekunst (right) during an OTA practice session in May 2023.

The Green Bay Packers are expected to field one of the best offensive lines in the NFL this season, and general manager Brian Gutekunst intends to keep it that way.

Left tackle David Bakhtiari has been the subject of some trade speculation in recent weeks — rumors that Gutekunst put to rest during a media session on Friday, August 18.

“First off all, we’re not going to trade David,” Gutekunst said. “So let’s just get that out of the way because I know there’s been a little bit of chatter about that, and it’s not going to happen.”

David Bakhtiari Restructured Contract With Packers During Offseason, Making Trade Highly Unlikely

David Bakhtiari, Packers

GettyLeft tackle David Bakhtiari of the Green Bay Packers participates in an OTA practice session in May 2023.

Bakhtiari was a viable trade candidate considering his salary cap number heading into the offseason. The All-Pro left tackle is entering the third year of a four-year deal in Green Bay worth $92 million in total ($23 million annually).

However, the Packers restructured Bakhtiari’s contract in order to lower that cap hit by $12 million in 2023, doing so by paying him a $15 million signing bonus in March. As ESPN’s Rob Demovsky explained, keeping Bakhtiari rostered will now only cost the Packers $1.9 million through the end of the campaign.

Bakhtiari spoke to some “awkwardness” with the team this April following comments he made to Barstool Sports in the aftermath of quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘ departure for the New York Jets.

For that reason, and others, the Jets were at the top of the list of Bakhtiari trade destinations, considering both the left tackle’s relationship with Rodgers and New York’s specific need at the left tackle position. Several other members of Green Bay’s offense last year have joined Rodgers in the Big Apple for the 2023 season, including wide receivers Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb.

However, Gutekunst on Friday slammed the door on any further reunions between former Packers in New York, at least where Bakhtiari is concerned.

Knee Injury Has Plagued Packers LT David Bakhtiari for Years

Bakhtiari Notes Bates

GettyGreen Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari will be playing with the team through at least the end of the 2023 season.

Bakhtiari was named a first-team or second-team All-Pro for five straight seasons between 2016-20 and earned three Pro-Bowl nods during that stretch. However, an ACL injury near the end of the 2020 campaign has been interrupting Bakhtiari’s career ever since.

The offensive lineman missed the final four games of that season then sat out all but one contest in 2021. Bakhtiari missed five outings last year with various health issues. Gutekunst spoke to Bakhtiari’s injury concerns on Friday.

“I think Dave’s a pro’s pro,” Gutekunst said. “What he went through was tough. It was tough on our football team, it was tough on him. And I think he’s really in a good place right now of understanding what he needs to do to get ready to play.”

Green Bay offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich on Friday also spoke to Bakhtiari’s knee problems and his perseverance through the ordeal.

“It’s just us managing the knee and all that stuff and making sure that he can get out there on Sundays,” Stenavich said. “He’s been such a good pro with keeping his body ready, keeping his mind ready.”

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