David Bakhtiari is one of the Green Bay Packers' greatest-ever left tackles. His dominant play led to five straight All-Pro selections. Had it not been for a significant knee injury, Bakhtiari undoubtedly would've earned more honors.
Although he has missed a lot of time over the past three seasons, Bakhtiari still plays at an elite level when he's on the field.
However, his future is one of the Packers' biggest offseason questions. Bakhtiari only has a year remaining on his deal, but his cap hit increases from just under $21 million this season to $40 million in 2024.
Green Bay could find a way to keep him, but there's a good chance he has played his final snap for the Packers.
Brian Gutekunst says Packers are 'monitoring' David Bakhtiari's injury situation
During Thursday's end-of-season news conference, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst provided an update on Bakhtiari's future with the team.
"We're still at the very beginning stages of looking at how we're going to move forward with that. David's been through a really rough stretch with the injury stuff, and he's going through a really major surgery," said Gutekunst. "We're monitoring that. I know he's working his tail off. Once we get down the road and see where he's at health-wise, we'll make those decisions."
Gutekunst said he "anticipates" Aaron Jones returning and made it clear the Packers won't trade Jaire Alexander, but he was less certain about Bakhtiari. His injury complicates things and could make a trade challenging, but the Packers can't ignore the financial part of it.
By moving on before June 1, the Packers would more than halve Bakhtiari's cap hit. Releasing the five-time All-Pro would create a little under $21 million, which could be significant when it comes to signing veterans in free agency.
Rasheed Walker and Zach Tom were excellent as Green Bay's starting tackles in 2023, and they could continue where they left off next season.
Bakhtiari's future remains up in the air, and Gutekunst's comments only added to the uncertainty.