The Packers will need to decide on David Bakhtiari’s 2023 status soon
David Bakhtiari is the Green Bay Packers’ best offensive lineman when healthy. However, the All-Pro lineman has struggled to recover from his ACL injury completely. His rehab included three surgeries. Bakhtiari has played more consistently as the 2022 season continues, but head coach Matt LaFleur has said his status will be “fluid” for the rest of the year. The Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst hinted at their plans for Bakhtiari Monday afternoon.
Bakhtiari played five straight weeks before missing the game against the Chicago Bears with a non-ACL-related injury. He had an appendectomy last week. Because of Bakhtiari’s unreliable knee recovery, the Packers could look to save some money on his hefty contract.
Pete Dougherty with the Green Bay Press-Gazette is guessing the Packers will cut Bakhtiari to save money:
The guess here is because of Bakhtiari’s unpredictable knee health going forward, the Packers will cut him in the offseason at a cap savings of $5.9 million.
Bakhtiari is due $17.5 million in salary and bonuses in ’23.
Brian Gutekunst hints at Bakhtiari’s future
Gutekunst held a press conference on Monday afternoon. He was asked what the Packers planned to do with their expensive left tackle. Per Matt Schneidman with The Athletic, Gutekunst said good left tackles were hard to find. The Packers plan to have an offseason conversation to decide Bakhtiari’s fate with the team.
Gutekunst asked if the risk of keeping Bakhtiari next season at that salary and with knee issues is worth the reward, especially since Packers have other capable LTs. He says left tackles don’t grow on trees, but Bakhtiari’s future will be an offseason conversation.
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) December 5, 2022
This is a big decision for the Packers. It seems like Bakhtiari is starting to make progress with his knee recovery. However, his contract makes that an enormous bet, as his play makes it a high-risk, high-reward decision.
The Packers’ offense has been noticeably better when Bakhtiari is out there. He’s not going to be easily replaced. And the Packers might be without right tackle Elgton Jenkins in 2023 as he will be a free agent. Those are things Gutekunst will need to consider this winter.