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
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.
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 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.”