David Bakhtiari's season ended after only one game, continuing his awful injury luck of recent years. Hopefully, Bakhtiari can get healthy between now and September and play a full season in 2024. But there's a good chance it won't be in Green Bay.
Regularly restructuring Bakhtiari's contract pushed money into the final year of his deal, which is 2024. His cap hit next season is a massive $40.58 million, higher than most quarterbacks.
The Packers will pay a considerable cap hit on Bakhtiari's deal; there's no getting around it. However, it doesn't need to be that high. Releasing the five-time All-Pro will still leave Green Bay with a dead cap hit of $19.08 million, but that's a significant saving from over $40 million.
Restructuring isn't an option, as Bakhtiari is entering the final year of his deal. A contract extension just pushes the problem into future years. Perhaps Bakhtiari would consider a pay cut to stay in Green Bay, but his best option could be to hit free agency and join a contender. Maybe he will reunite with Aaron Rodgers by signing with the New York Jets.
Bakhtiari is an all-time great, but the NFL can be a tough business. The Packers can't afford to pay his cap hit of over $40 million. Without many other options to lower it, Green Bay could have no choice but to release Bakhtiari in the offseason.