David Bakhtiari enters the 2020 season on the final year of his 4 year contract he signed in 2016. The Packers recently extended nose tackle Kenny Clark to a 5 year $70 million dollar contract. Bakhtiari is not the only Packer that would need to be extended after 2020. Aaron Jones, Kevin King are a few of the big names that are also under contract years. The Packers will not be able to resign everyone, after extending Clark this offseason. Bakhtiari had a “down” season in 2019 in comparison to past years, but was still above average. When 2020 comes to an end and his contract expires should the Packers extend Bakhtiari?
Bakhtiari will certainly demand top market value at a premium position. Will the Packers want to pay Bakhtiari $15-20 million a year? Mike Garafalo of the NFL Network recently said via Twitter the Packers “would love to finalize an extension before week one.”
Bakhtiari was drafted in 2013 in the 4th round and immediately started on the offensive line. He started gaining notice in 2016 when he made his first of three pro bowls. 2018 he made his second pro bowl and made first team all-pro. Pro Football Focus graded him at 88.3 in 2018. In 2019, his grade dropped to 78.3 and his penalties increased including false starts. Some would credit his down play to learning a new offense and injuries he battled throughout the season, but some could wonder if age is also setting in?
2021 and Beyond
The question may not necessarily be if the Packers should extend Bakhtiari, but where will their priorities will lie after this season? As I mentioned earlier, Bakhtiari is not the only key player on the Packers to have an expiring contract and he will be the oldest of the group. The Packers will have to choose whether they want to extend an aging offensive lineman who’s injury history is starting to add up, or whether they want to extend a premiere playmaker like Jones and a cornerback coming into his prime in King.