Packers release David Bakhtiari: Full details, salary cap impact, landing spots

The David Bakhtiari era is over in Green Bay.
Green Bay Packers, David Bakhtiari
Green Bay Packers, David Bakhtiari / Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Future Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer David Bakhtiari has played his final snap for the team. As expected, the Packers have released the five-time All-Pro in a cap-saving move.

Bakhtiari announced his departure with an emotional message on social media, and Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports it's a release and not a retirement.

Bakhtiari has only featured in 13 games for the Packers since suffering a significant knee injury on New Year's Eve in 2020. But it takes nothing away from the legendary career he had in Green Bay.

A fourth-round pick in 2013, Bakhtiari instantly became a starter along the Packers' offensive line. Before long, he had become one of the best pass-protectors of his generation, earning five consecutive All-Pro honors. Despite battling knee issues in recent years, Bakhtiari continued to play at an elite level with little or no practice, reminding everyone how talented he is.

But the Packers are officially moving on after over a decade of great play from Bakhtiari.

How Packers releasing David Bakhtiari impacts the salary cap

The Packers needed to create cap space, and this move does that. Bakhtiari's cap hit was initially $40 million, but Green Bay has made a saving of $20.94 million. They will still pay $19.08 million in dead money, but they have more than halved Bakhtiari's 2024 cap hit.

It gives the Packers flexibility in free agency. Following the move, Green Bay sits at approximately $34.6 million, and there's still the possibility of creating more space before the start of the new league year.

Considering his recent injury history, the Packers couldn't afford to take on the risk of a $40 million cap hit. They can now use the additional $21 million of savings to upgrade the roster in the weeks ahead.

Potential landing spots for David Bakhtiari in free agency

  • New York Jets
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Kansas City Chiefs

Contending teams needing help at tackle could give Bakhtiari a call.

How about a reunion with Aaron Rodgers in New York? Rodgers needs better protection from an offensive line that ranked 30th in pass block win rate last season, per ESPN. Bringing in an All-Pro left tackle on a short-term deal makes sense for a team trying to win it all with Rodgers.

The Cowboys could also need a left tackle if Tyron Smith departs in free agency. The pressure is on Mike McCarthy to win now. Reuniting with his former left tackle could help.

The Chiefs are aiming to go back-to-back-to-back in the Super Bowl. With Donovan Smith's future uncertain, adding one of the league's top pass protectors would make a lot of sense.

Who will replace David Bakhtiari for Packers?

The Packers don't need to find a replacement for Bakhtiari in the starting lineup, as Rasheed Walker stepped in admirably last season. Per ESPN, Walker tied Trent Williams for the league lead in pass block win rate among tackles. On the other side of the line, right tackle Zach Tom played at a Pro Bowl level.

But Bakhtiari's departure hurts Green Bay's depth, and backup Yosh Nijman is a free agent.

GM Brian Gutekunst must prioritize the offensive line in the draft, and he may look for prospects with the versatility to play across the line, as the Packers also need help at the interior positions.

Early-round targets include Duke's Graham Barton and Washington's Troy Fautanu. They both played tackle in college but could move inside at the NFL level. Another name to watch is Arizona's Jordan Morgan.

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