Packers Clear $12 Million in Cap Space with All-Pro Lineman: Report

Getty The Green Bay Packers cleared significant cap space by restructuring David Bakhtiari's contract.

The Green Bay Packers and general manager Brian Gutekunst have been hard at work to clear cap space for the 2023 season, and the front office has opened up another significant chunk thanks a move with All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari.

With ongoing rumors surrounding quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers have still been focused on opening up the 2023 salary cap through contract restructures. Pro Bowl running back Aaron Jones agreed to a $5 million pay cut back in February, while key veterans like Jaire Alexander, Preston Smith, and Kenny Clark have all had their contracts reworked to push their cap hits into the future.

Bakhtiari is now the latest veteran to see his contract redone. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Packers have restructured the 31-year-old’s contract.

Depending on void years with Bakhtiari’s deal, the restructure could clear the Packers as much as $12 million in cap space for the 2023 season. Packers cap expert Ken Ingalls shared that the Packers could end up clearing $7.5 million without adding void years.

The Packers were already $16.5 million under the cap according to Over the Cap, and this move will give the team even more flexibility.

A Bounce-Back Year for David Bakhtiari

Things looked dicey regarding Bakhtiari’s future in Green Bay prior to the 2022 season, but the 31-year-old’s resurgence has put the team’s front office at ease.

Bakhtiari missed significant time with a torn ACL he suffered prior to the 2020 postseason. That same injury kept him off of the field for almost the entirety of the 2021 season, as well as in stretches of the past year.

Despite concerns that the knee injury may force him into an early retirement, Bakhtiari returned to play at a high level for the Packers in 2022. According to Pro Football Focus, Bakhtiari had the sixth-best pass blocking grade in the NFL among qualified tackles with an 87.8 grade out of 100.

Unfortunately, there were still hiccups throughout the year for the five-time All-Pro tackle. Complications with his knee forced him to be a late scratch against the Washington Commanders, while an unexpected emergency appendectomy resulted in him missing several weeks.

A bit of bad luck didn’t stop Bakhtiari when he was on the field, however. As long as his knee holds up, the 31-year-old should continue to be one of the best left tackles in the NFL in 2023.

The Latest on Aaron Rodgers

Bakhtiari wasn’t the only player in Green Bay uncertain about his future. Now, all eyes will turn back to Aaron Rodgers as he contemplates his future for 2023 and beyond.

The 39-year-old has reportedly met with the New York Jets as the AFC East franchise and the Packers have entered into trade discussions. The Jets even flew to visit Rodgers in California, with ESPN’s Dianna Russini reporting that the Jets are now optimistic that a deal will get done.

Along with waiting on Rodgers to make a decision, financials between the two teams seem to be one of the last sticking points in getting a deal done. The Packers will take on a $40 million dead cap hit by trading Rodgers before June 1, and the Jets will have to take on the remainder of his massive contract extension, regardless of his plans beyond 2023.

With contract restructures and player cuts, both sides are working hard on clearing cap space, indicating that a trade is imminent for Rodgers to play in New York in 2023.

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