The Green Bay Packers placed All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari on injured reserve on Thursday. He will miss at least the next four games, but it raises questions about his future with the Packers.
It's heartbreaking news. When healthy, Bakhtiari is still a phenomenal left tackle and capable of playing at an All-Pro level. He has dealt with ongoing knee issues since suffering a significant injury in December 2020. Bakhtiari has only played 13 games since.
The Packers clearly believe Bakhtiari's injury is significant enough to place him on injured reserve, which automatically rules him out of the following four games. But what does this mean for Bakhtiari's future?
Has David Bakhtiari played his final game for the Packers?
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Bakhtiari playing again this year isn't guaranteed.
"But given his knee situation, it's unclear when or if Bakhtiari will return this season," said Rapoport.
That's concerning. Hopefully, Bakhtiari will be able to return after missing the next four games, but that's clearly in doubt. If he is indeed out for the remainder of the season, it creates the unfortunate possibility that he has played his final game for the Packers.
Bakhtiari is under contract through the 2024 season. However, he has a cap hit of $40.03 million next year. The Packers will have to make a move to lower that number. Given the uncertainty over how many games he will play, the only realistic option could be to release Bakhtiari in the offseason. Doing so would create around $21 million in cap space.
It's an unfortunate situation. Bakhtiari is an elite pass protector. Even while dealing with knee issues, he still shuts down premier pass rushers when he's on the field. He has given everything for the Packers over the years, ensuring Aaron Rodgers, and now Jordan Love, is protected on the left side of the line.
Hopefully, this isn't the end. Bakhtiari isn't just an outstanding player and leader, but also a great person off the field.
But if Bakhtiari has played his final game, his parting gift was to help the Packers crush the Bears in the first game of the Jordan Love era while giving the middle finger to Bears fans. Perfection.