Packers Cutting David Bakhtiari: Jets Signing All-Pro to Protect Aaron Rodgers?

Should the New York Jets look to sign Aaron Rodgers’ long-time blindside blocker to solve their tackle woes?

The Green Bay Packers are expected to part ways with 32-year-old tackle David Bakhtiari this offseason.

A collection of knee injuries has left the former All-Pro missing over 30 games in the last four seasons with the Packers – an unfortunate end for the former fourth-round pick named to two first-team All-Pros, and three Pro Bowl nominations.

Bakhtiari has teased retirement in the past due to the rash of injuries, but would a call from his favorite quarterback be enough to go out and play for another season?

Aaron Rodgers has not hidden the fact that he has tried to bring players from his Green Bay days to the New York Jets since being traded last offseason. Wide receivers Randall Cobb, Allen Lazard, and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett all came with Rodgers to Florham Park with mediocre results in 2023.

Maybe a second year is the charm for the Jets and former Packers players?

New York has a major need at both tackle positions this offseason. The Jets went through 13 different offensive linemen in 2023 due to injuries with over 10 different combinations. This came after the organization lost Rodgers four plays into the season with a torn Achilles.

In short, protecting the 40-year-old Rodgers in 2024 has to be the biggest focus for the Jets.

Should the Jets bring in an injury-prone tackle like Bakhtiari, though? Will that be enough to solve their offensive line concerns? What would a contract look like for a player who hasn’t played a full season in four years and was considering retirement not too long ago?

To look at what a potential deal with the Jets could look like for a player of Bakhtiari’s stature, the closest comparison is fellow free agent Tyron Smith. Smith is a future Hall-of-Fame left tackle but has missed plenty of games in his own right over the last few seasons. Spotrac lists Smith’s potential free agent deal at an average of $7.5 million per year. While he has had several more injuries than Bakhtiari, when healthy, Smith has played at a high level his career.

He’s earned that kind of value despite the injury concerns and age (33).

Bakhtiari, therefore, is probably somewhere on the lower side of Smith’s contract. A potential deal for the Packers’ tackle nearing $6 million should be enough to entice the veteran – along with the excitement of playing with Rodgers again.

Unfortunately for Gang Green, the free-agent tackle market isn’t exactly solid this year. You have some young depth players like Eagles tackle Jack Driscoll and Bengals starter Jonah Williams. You, then, have the aging veterans like Smith, Bakhtiari, and Trent Brown.

No team should willingly drop major cash on this free agent class – especially when the draft class is a historical group.

New York needs quality starters along the offensive line which means they will be dishing out some money for a tackle in the offseason. What kind of tackle depends on the amount they are willing to spend, the offense they run, and the depth at the position.

That’s what makes Bakhtiari a logical signing for the Jets this offseason. Are there significant injury concerns? Yes. But for a veteran who won’t be commanding a top contract that understands the offensive system, the Jets could do a lot worse than a former All-Pro.

Even if it means potentially catering to the wants of Rodgers some more.

Gideon Canice

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