David Bakhtiari's decision could cost Aaron Rodgers a championship

From teammates to rivals?
Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions / Leon Halip/GettyImages

Should we just hand David Bakhtiari the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award now? Spoiler alert: He is going to win it.

While the five-time All-Pro didn't completely shut the door on re-signing with the Green Bay Packers, he said in an interview with ESPN's Adam Schefter that he doesn't believe it's a "high probability."

So, where will Bakhtiari play in 2024?

Everyone expected a reunion with Aaron Rodgers, but Bakhtiari pretty much ruled out joining the New York Jets. They signed Tyron Smith, traded for Morgan Moses, and used a first-round pick on Olu Fashanu. Smith and Moses will start, and Fashanu is their future. Bakhtiari would have to accept a backup role if he headed to New York.

That's not necessary. As long as he's healthy, Bakhtiari should start for whichever team signs him. And his future team could be becoming obvious.

Bakhtiari told Adam Schefter that he wants to play with "the next Super Bowl MVP." In other words, he wants to join a realistic contender. The Packers and Jets check those boxes, but Bakhtiari doesn't believe either will happen.

David Bakhtiari swapping Packers for Chiefs would be bad news for Aaron Rodgers

So, who will be the next Super Bowl MVP? Let's be honest. There's a good chance that the next Super Bowl MVP is the same player who won the past two: Patrick Mahomes.

And the Chiefs would benefit from signing the five-time All-Pro tackle. Arrowhead Addict's Matt Conner wrote a great article on why Kansas City should sign Bakhtiari. They have uncertainty at left tackle, even after drafting Kingsley Suamataia, who may need time to develop before becoming a full-time starter.

One player who shouldn't want to see Bakhtiari in Kansas City is former teammate Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers's Jets have an outstanding roster on both sides of the ball. He has an improved offensive line, an excellent run game to lean on, and a deeper receiving corps than last year. Defensively, the Jets have it all.

However, the Chiefs have won back-to-back Super Bowls for a reason.

Left tackle is one of their only question marks entering the season, but Bakhtiari would change the game. He is one of the best pass protectors of his generation, and that hasn't changed due to injury. Even when playing at less than 100 percent—Week 1 at Chicago last September, for example—he still shut down every pass rusher in front of him.

In 2020, Bakhtiari played 12 games. Per PFF, he allowed just eight pressures, zero hits, and one sack, earning a pass-blocking grade of 91.6.

Since the injury, he has played 13 games, giving up 10 hurries, zero hits, and zero sacks. He is still an elite pass protector.

Add Bakhtiari to the Chiefs' offense, and they will take a significant step toward winning a third straight championship. If he is healthy and can play most of the season, he will be a game-changing addition for any team.

Note to the rest of the league: Don't let Kansas City sign Bakhtiari. He will consistently shut down the opposing pass rush on one side of the field, giving Mahomes all the time in the world. And that could quickly derail Rodgers's hopes of reaching his second Super Bowl.

The Jets have a roster built to win it all. They must overcome the Chiefs to go all the way, but that task becomes significantly more challenging if Bakhtiari is protecting Mahomes.

More Packers news and analysis