The Green Bay Packers went into the 2023 NFL season with a fully healthy offensive line. Unfortunately, that Week One win over the Chicago Bears will be the only game in which they get all five of their starting offensive lineman on the field.
All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari was dominant in that Week One win, and appeared to have the time of his life as he bantered with Bears’ fans all game long. Unfortunately, Bakhtiari’s surgically repaired knee acted up following the game, and he has missed all of the Packers’ games since then.
It was revealed last week that his knee was going to require two more surgeries in order to get it right. Today, Bakhtiari addressed the media and revealed when he expects to be back on the field.
Green Bay Packers Left Tackle David Bakhtiari Is Out for the Remainder of the 2023 NFL Season
According to Kassidy Hill of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Bakhtiari told reporters today that he is officially out for the rest of the 2023 season. His goal is to get completely healthy and back on a NFL field for the 2024 season:
Bakhtiari says this season is no longer a possibility. His goal is to be ready for training camp 2024. https://t.co/QOtOMOMM82
— Kassidy Hill (@KassidyGHill) October 6, 2023
Rasheed Walker, a 2022 seventh round NFL Draft pick, has started at left tackle in Bakhtiari’s place. He will continue to do so for the rest of the season and could be Green Bay’s future mainstay at the position.
David Bakhtiari’s Future with the Green Bay Packers Is Uncertain
The Packers have Bakhtiari under contract through the 2024 NFL season. However, he carries a cap hit north of $40 million due to the team restructuring his deal to create more cap room in past seasons.
His dead cap hit, according to Spotrac, is just over $19 million, which means that Green Bay can save over $21 million if they release him after the season.
The fact of the matter is that the Packers were not going to take on a $40 million cap hit for Bakhtiari in 2024 even if he was completely healthy in 2023. Their only other option besides releasing him, then, is to offer him an extension. Given the history of his knee injury, that does not seem likely to happen either.
Week One against the Chicago Bears may have been the last time Bakhtiari put on a Packers uniform.
Green Bay Packers Fans Should Not Blame David Bakhtiari
Over the past two years, a vocal portion of Packers fans have been highly critical of Bakhtiari for not being able to get healthy enough to play. These frustrations, unfortunately, are misplaced. It is not Bakhtiari’s fault.
One may recall that his ACL tore in a non-contract drill during practice on New Years Eve in 2020. Following the injury, whatever doctor operated on Bakhtiari’s knee must have botched the surgery. Since his initial ACL repair, he has required four more surgeries, which do not include all the times he has had to have his knee drained.
The simple fact of the matter is that there is nothing the Packers or Bakhtiari could have done following the initial surgery to get him back on the field faster.
Hopefully this fifth surgery is enough to allow him to continue his NFL career, whether it is with Green Bay (unlikely) or somewhere else.
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