The Green Bay Packers will be without David Bakhtiari again on Sunday when they take on the Miami Dolphins. To say that the last two years have been hard on Bakhtiari would be an understatement. After tearing his ACL at practice in December of 2020, he went through numerous surgeries, missed 2021 (except for a few snaps in Week 18), and missed the start of 2022. After he finally returned, his playing time was limited and he missed some games as a precaution. A few weeks ago, he complained of abdomen pain and had to have an emergency surgery to get his appendix taken out. It has truly been a nightmare for him.
Tough times don’t last, tough people do. #dailyreminder
— David Bakhtiari (@DavidBakhtiari) December 23, 2022
Unfortunately, Bakhtiari’s run of injuries (that were not his fault) have caused some uneducated Packers fans to call for him to be released. This desire is, to put it lightly, misplaced frustration and simply wrong for two major reasons.
1. David Bakhtiari Is Still an Elite Left Tackle
Let’s begin by looking at some facts: Bakhtiari’s knee is generally healthy. Yes, he will require rest days during the week to ensure it stays that way. However, the knee is not going to keep him down going forward. When he has been on the field, Bakhtiari has been among the best left tackles in the NFL.
Here is every single snap taken by David Bakhtiari on Sunday.
It may take some time to get back to All-Pro level again, but Dbak is Bak. pic.twitter.com/LgjGxWgmz8
— Eli Berkovits (@BookOfEli_NFL) September 27, 2022
The appendix issue simply was not his fault. Calling for a trade or for the Packers to cut Bakhtiari because of injuries is wrong. Now, many so-called Packers fans are saying that Bakhtiari is making too much money and the Packers should cut or trade him because of his injuries, which leads us to our next point.
2. The Packers Will Not Save Much Money by Cutting David Bakhtiari
One has to wonder if the fans that want Bakhtiari cut realize that dead cap money does not go away. The simple salary cap math is that David Bakhtiari will make roughly $29 million next season and have a dead cap hit of $23 million. Sure, they could save $6 million, but they’re still going to have $23 million count against their cap for him. If they’re going to have to pay $23 million as is, why not keep him on the roster for $29 million? As shown above, he is still an elite left tackle who was named as a Pro Bowl alternate this season.
If the Packers are planning to cut Bakhtiari, it certainly will not happen until 2024. That year, he will have a cap hit close to $33 million, but a dead cap hit of just $11 million. That would be the time it makes financial sense to make that cut.
Note: dead cap money does not go away in a trade. Even if the Packers trade Bakhtiari next year or the year after, the dead cap figures listed above will still count against their salary cap.
We all want to see David Bakhtiari on the field because we all know he is an amazing player. Bakhtiari wants to be out there, too; but sometimes there are things beyond anyone’s control that can stop the best-laid plans. Calling for him to be off the team, however, is not the answer.