The Green Bay Packers were able to keep their slim playoff hopes alive when they defeated the Chicago Bears in Week 13. Now that they are in their bye, the Packers will prepare for the final four games of the season knowing that there is a strong likelihood that they will miss the postseason for the first time in Matt LaFleur’s tenure as head coach.
Knowing they will need a miracle to make the playoffs this season, there has already been some attention turned toward 2023.
The Packers came into 2022 with Super Bowl aspirations and they are going to fall well short, so there is plenty of work to do when it comes to the roster.
One area that could use an upgrade during the offseason is the offensive line. Green Bay has struggled at times this season protecting Aaron Rodgers or opening up running lanes for their impressive running back duo of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon.
One player who is squarely on the chopping block during the upcoming offseason is left tackle David Bakhtiari. The fourth-round pick from the 2013 NFL Draft out of Colorado has been a staple along the Packers’ offensive line for years.
He was an All-Pro for five consecutive seasons from 2016-2020, making three Pro Bowls as well. However, after missing only eight games in the first eight seasons of his career, injuries have begun to catch up to him.
Bakhtiari played in only one game in 2021 and has appeared in nine out of 13 thus far this season. His balky knee makes him a player that is on the fence about whether or not he will return in 2023 according to Matt Schneidman of The Athletic.
“Is the risk (an unreliable knee) worth the reward (All-Pro level of play when healthy) with a player costing as much as Bakhtiari (cap hit of about $29 million in 2023 and about $6 million in savings if they cut him)?”
That is the question general manager Brian Gutekunst will be asking himself numerous times between now and when the 2023 NFL year begins. There is no denying the impact that Bakhtiari can have when healthy, but it is fair to question just how many more healthy seasons does he have in him?
A decision likely won’t come early on, as the Packers aren’t going to cut a player of Bakhtiari’s caliber without a contingency plan in place.
Green Bay does have some options to start at the tackle spots should they need the salary relief that cutting Bakhtiari would provide them. This will be a situation to keep an eye on throughout the offseason as the Packers will have some tough decisions to make as they look to reshape the roster and become contenders once again.