While the Green Bay Packers are clinging to a narrow fourth-quarter lead over the Jacksonville Jaguars, news has broken that the team is keeping one of its most critical players on a new long-term contract. Left tackle David Bakhtiari was scheduled to become a free agent after this season, but according to Pro Football Talk, he signed a new four-year contract extension overnight before Sunday’s game.
This move locks up the left side of the Packers’ line for the foreseeable future and gives Bakhtiari financial security heading into his age-30 season in 2021. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that the contract has about $23 million per year in new money on the new deal, which will lock him in through the 2024 season.
Bakhtiari finally earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2018 after consistently being one of the best pass-blockers in the NFL for several years. Along with second-year pro Elgton Jenkins at guard, the Packers have one of the finest left sides of the offensive line in the league. Bakhtiari returned to the field on Sunday for the game against Jacksonville after missing three games with a chest injury.
This also marks the second time that Bakhtiari has signed a contract extension before a game against the Jaguars. He signed his first big deal just before week one of the 2016 season, when Green Bay traveled to Jacksonville for the season opener.
The Packers were set to have two starting offensive linemen hitting free agency next spring, with center Corey Linsley joining Bakhtiari in needing a new contract. With the NFL’s salary cap seemingly set to drop significantly in 2021 due to COVID-19, the Packers will likely find it difficult to pay both of these players for next season and beyond, so this could spell the end for Linsley in Green Bay.
Stay tuned for more information about Bakhtiari’s contract moving forward.