Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari has consistently been one of the very best at his position in the NFL.
Bakhtiari missed most of the 2021 season due to injury but made his full-time return this year, reminding everyone how good he is.
However, will Bakhtiari still play for the Packers in 2023? It’s a question worth asking.
2022 season review
Before we get into that, let’s focus on the 2022 season.
Bakhtiari played in 11 games. Initially, he was eased back into a full-time role, splitting snaps with Yosh Nijman. It was a smart move as Bakhtiari had barely played since December 2020.
Before getting hurt that season, Bakhtiari was the best pass-protector in football. After dealing with such a significant injury, a drop in his level of play was to be expected.
Nobody told David Bakhtiari that.
The moment he stepped back on the field, it was like he had never been away. Bakhtiari made up for lost time, shutting down premier pass rushers and keeping Aaron Rodgers upright.
As a pass-protector, Bakhtiari was at his All-Pro best. According to ESPN, his 95% pass rush win rate tied for the league lead among tackles.
Had he played in a few more games, Bakhtiari could’ve been a strong candidate for NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
If Bakhtiari isn’t back in 2023, it won’t be a decision based on his performances. It would be a financial move by the Packers.
Bakhtiari is Green Bay’s best offensive lineman. He would be the best offensive lineman on most teams in the NFL. But with his recent injury history and high cap hit, the Packers have a decision to make.
Last month, general manager Brian Gutekunst said he “would hope so” when asked if Bakhtiari would be back.
Well, that’s positive, although “hope” isn’t much of a commitment.
According to Over The Cap, Bakhtiari’s cap hit in 2023 is $28.85 million.
A restructure could help, but realistically, the only way the Packers can make significant cap savings on Bakhtiari’s contract would be by releasing him post-June 1.
Soon enough, we’ll find out the Packers’ plans with their All-Pro left tackle.