David Bakhtiari has not been healthy in a while
The Green Bay Packers offensive line is better when David Bakhtiari starts on it. The problem since his torn ACL injury in Dec. 2020 is that he hasn’t started much on it. Bakhtiari missed most of the 2021 season and has yet to play this season. His status in Week 2 is questionable.
The two-time first-team All-Pro tackle is trying to work his way back to the starting offensive line for the Packers soon. Bakhtiari practiced some this week in a “day on, day off” schedule. Bakhtiari’s knee rehab has been a challenge for the past few years. He returned for one game last season in Week 18 and then needed subsequent surgery.
The health of Bakhtiari’s knee is a potential concern for the Packers in the future, mainly because of his contract. Per Ken Ingalls, a financial expert who follows the Packers salary cap, Bakhtiari has a $9.5 million signing bonus due March 17. If he’s not on the Packers via a trade, cut, or retirement before the bonus is paid, the team would have to eat $23.13 million in dead cap space. Ken Ingalls assumes that if the Packers pay the bonus, Bakhtiari will stay with the team.
David Bakhtiari has a $9.5M signing bonus due the 3rd day of 2023 league year. If cut/traded/retires BEFORE it is paid, the Packers are left with $23.13M of dead cap (less any insurance proceeds which I know is part of his contract).
If the bonus is paid, he is staying in 2023.
— Ken Ingalls – Packers Cap 💰 (@KenIngalls) September 16, 2022
It looks like the Packers are stuck with Bakhtiari.
Bakhtiari’s status will be interesting to monitor this season
The Packers will need to decide where to go with David Bakhtiari relatively soon. His cap hit in 2023 would be a whopping $29,065,514 and $32,965,514 in 2024. If he played up to the level he was in 2018, it would be worth it. But Bakhtiari’s progression since his injury in 2020 seems to indicate he won’t be the same player he was when the Packers signed that contract.
The best option is for a healthy David Bakhtiari to play the next few seasons with Green bay. However, if the injury persists, it might be best for the Packers to sever ties with Bakhtiari. The Packers would then be able to salvage considerable money to use for talent that will see the field.