Packers Trade Proposal Flips Bakhtiari to Jets for Draft Haul

David Bakhtiari

Getty Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari in 2022.

The Green Bay Packers already padded two draft classes by trading Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets, and repeating the process with David Bakhtiari makes considerable sense.

Like Rodgers, Bakhtiari has been a tentpole player in Green Bay for more than a decade. But as the Packers transition to a new era at quarterback and conduct what is, at the very least, a restart if not a rebuild, the 32-year-old left tackle and his sizable contract make less sense as an expenditure for a team absent legitimate Super Bowl aspirations over the next season or two.

In the interest of procuring a significant return for Bakhtiari, who remains an asset despite recent injury issues, SB Nation’s Acme Packing Co. suggested on Friday, May 5, that the Packers deal the offensive lineman for something before they “cut him for nothing.” As it stands, the landing spot that makes the most sense for Bakhtiari would reunite him with Rodgers, his good friend and former quarterback, in New York.

Packers Win by Trading David Bakhtiari to Jets for 2nd-Round Pick

Rodgers, Bakhtiari, Packers

GettyQuarterback Aaron Rodgers, formerly of the Green Bay Packers, and left tackle David Bakhtiari celebrate a touchdown during a game against the Tennessee Titans in December 2020.

Green Bay shouldn’t be in the business of helping the Jets achieve their Super Bowl aspirations or filling Rodgers’ personnel wish list after he gave the team the cold shoulder this offseason, unless the deal is equally advantageous for the Packers. In the case of Bakhtiari, it could be.

The market for All-Pro potential at the premium position of offensive tackle never really dissipates in the NFL. The Jets have a particular need there after swapping first-round selections with the Packers in this year’s draft. The move dropped New York from pick No. 13 to No. 15, allowing the Pittsburgh Steelers to swoop in and steal tackle Broderick Jones out from under the Jets with the 14th pick via a trade with the New England Patriots.

The Jets have created a win-now scenario over the next two years and after forfeiting the first-round swap and a second-round selection this year as well as a first-round pick next year if Rodgers plays 65% of the team’s offensive snaps, there is no reason for New York to scrimp now.

Because of how the Packers have compromised the top end of the Jets’ 2024 draft by way of the compensation package they received in the Rodgers trade, the logical solution is to look to the 2025 draft for an answer. New York has reason to believe it will be a serious contender next season and if Rodgers plays out his contract, for the next two years. Those odds go up if the Jets solve their tackle problem by adding Bakhtiari to the mix.

Bakhtiari retains value for the Packers in terms of protecting new starting quarterback Jordan Love and providing continuity through his transition into the role. Because of that Green Bay could push for the Jets’ 2025 first-round pick in a deal for Bakhtiari, knowing it is likely to fall in the high 20s or low 30s. However, given Bakhtiari’s age and injury history, a selection near the end of the second round two years from now feels like the appropriate compensation on both sides.

David Bakhtiari Trade Solves 1 Problem for Packers, 2 Problems for Jets

Bakhtiari Notes Bates

GettyLeft tackle David Bakhtiari of the Green Bay Packers works out during training camp in June 2021.

As Acme Packing Co. noted Friday, Bakhtiari’s age could be a concern to the Jets. His contract, however, not so much.

“If a new team takes on Bakhtiari prior to the 2023 season, they will be getting him on what is effectively a two-year deal for a grand total of $23.965 million, not a penny of which would be guaranteed,” the article stated. “His 2023 compensation and cap hit for the new team would just be $2.253 [million].”

Moving off Bakhtiari can’t happen in Green Bay until after June 1 based on the salary cap implications. Trading the tackle this summer doesn’t offer the Packers a ton of savings, just the aforementioned 2.253 million, per Over The Cap. Green Bay would also incur an unavoidable dead cap hit of more than $19 million. As such, the savings alone aren’t enough incentive to relieve Love of his best protector.

Flipping Bakhtiari before the start of the 2023 season only has value for the Packers insofar as it brings back a quality asset that can be utilized toward building Green Bay’s future. The deal offers the Jets value in two ways, however. First, it fills a serious gap on their offensive line. Second, it appeases Rodgers who pushed New York to draft a tackle in the first round, something the Jets failed to accomplish.

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