Why the Packers don't necessarily have to cut David Bakhtiari

Green Bay Packers, David Bakhtiari
Green Bay Packers, David Bakhtiari / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The biggest offseason cap decision the Green Bay Packers face in 2024 is what to do with David Bakhtiari. The five-time All-Pro has had an outstanding career in Green Bay, but injuries have limited him to just 13 games over the last three seasons.

As things stand he's set to carry a $40 million cap hit next season, which would make him the highest paid non-quarterback in football. That’s clearly not a sustainable situation, but what exactly are Green Bay's options?

In this article I break down the three most likely solutions that Green Bay has in addressing that monster cap hit.

Packers could restructure David Bakhtiari's contract

One option available to the front office is a restructure of Bakhtiari's contract. This doesn't feel likely, but it is certainly worth considering if the team thinks that the worst of Bakhtiari's health issues are behind him.

The 2024 season is the last on his current deal, so any restructure would have to involve the addition of void years. This would allow Green Bay to convert some of Bakhtiari's $20.2 million base salary into a signing bonus and spread it across multiple void years.

As an example, they could add three void years and convert $19 million of that base salary into signing bonus. That would take his 2024 cap hit down to $25 million - not cheap, but certainly a more palatable option.

There are two catches with this solution. The first is that Bakhtiari would have to agree to any restructure involving the addition of void years. The second, and more thorny problem is the cap implications this will have for 2025.

If the Packers let Bakhtiari walk after the season, all of those void years would accelerate and leave a cap hit of $14.2 million in 2025, when he wouldn't even be on the roster.

Packers could trade David Bakhtiari

The next option available is a trade. The feasibility of this is obviously more dependent than other options on external factors - as the saying goes, it takes two to tango.

If the Packers can find interest from other teams then this is probably the best option. The cap implications would be the same as cutting him, but with the added bonus of receiving some compensation in return. Whoever traded for Bakhtiari would also only be responsible for paying his $20.2 million base salary - a fair price for a five-time All-Pro.

There are always teams in need of offensive tackles, and it's possible a team like the New York Jets could be interested, not least because of the Aaron Rodgers connection.

That being said, the problem here is that all 31 other teams know that the Packers cannot afford to enter 2024 with Bakhtiari carrying a $40 million cap hit. As a result, they may be perfectly content with calling the Packers' bluff, knowing that there is a significant chance he gets cut and that they can scoop him up for free.

Packers could release David Bakhtiari

The third, and perhaps most likely option, is a simple cut.

Doing so would mean the Packers have to account for Bakhtiari's outstanding 2024 signing bonus (just over $19 million), but they would free up over $20 million in cap space.

Whilst there would be no upfront compensation as there would be with a trade, the benefit of doing this ahead of free agency is that it allows the Packers more room to maneuver when it comes to targeting free agents at other positions of need.

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