David Bakhtiari is one of the best left tackles in football. Even after missing so much time due to injury, he proved he is still a dominant pass-protector for the Green Bay Packers this season.
But with the Packers’ lack of cap space, Bakhtiari’s significant cap hit next year, and his recent injury history, is there any chance Green Bay moves on from the future Hall-of-Famer?
Note: The contract numbers in this article are according to Over The Cap.
David Bakhtiari’s 2023 salary cap hit
David Bakhtiari’s salary cap hit rises to $28.85 million next season. It was just $13.78 million this past season.
What are the Packers’ options?
A contract restructure could help in the short term, saving almost $8 million in 2023. That’s OK, but it doesn’t do much for the bigger picture.
Doing so only provides a quick fix, as it would push money into future years.
Bakhtiari’s current cap hit for 2024 is $33.07 million, which is already high enough. Restructuring his deal could push it as high as $41.23 million in 2024.
So, what can the Packers do?
One option is to add void years. This would help bring down Bakhtiari’s cap hits, spreading them out over multiple years. The problem there is that the Packers would continue to pay dead cap hits even after the end of Bakhtiari’s contract. But that may be the best choice.
The other option is to move on.
Releasing Bakhtiari before June 1 would create a small cap saving of $5.7 million, leaving the Packers with a dead cap hit of $23.1 million. While still a big cap hit, the Packers would pay off the contract in one year.
The other option would be to make it a post-June 1 release. This would create $17.28 million, but the Packers would be left with a dead cap hit of $11.57 million this year and another $11.57 million in 2024.
Considering how important David Bakhtiari is to this team, I think they’ll find a way to keep him.
They may need to get creative with the salary cap, perhaps adding void years, but they will reduce his 2023 cap hit and keep their star left tackle on the roster.
For a player this talented, it’s worth doing whatever it takes to keep him.