It’s another maximum-value contract restructure for the Green Bay Packers on the final Friday before the 2023 league year begins. The Packers have reportedly restructured David Bakhtiari’s contract, shifting between $7.5 million and $12 million of salary cap money out of the 2023 season and into future years.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler was first on the news, which comes as the Packers converted Bakhtiari’s $9.5 million roster bonus and approximately $5.5 million of base salary into a signing bonus. Bakhtiari’s roster bonus was set to pay out on March 17th, one week from the date that this restructure takes place.
Bakhtiari’s current contract runs for another two years, through the 2024 season. The maximum amount of money that the Packers could restructure without Bakhtiari’s approval is $15.035 million, as Acme Packing Company discussed when examining his contract back in January.
The maximum amount of money that the Packers could restructure is $15.035 million. That consists of that roster bonus plus $5.535 million of base salary, as they could take him down from $6.7 million to the veteran league minimum of $1.165 million. If the Packers elect not to use void years to spread that money out, they would get it split evenly across 2023 and 2024, moving about $7.518 million of cap money from 2023 into 2024.
Although the $7.5 million number is the minimum amount that will come off the Packers’ books in 2023, it could be significantly greater. The actual effect on the 2023 salary cap will depend on whether the Packers were able to convince Bakhtiari to add void years to his contract, a mechanism that requires the player’s approval. If Bakhtiari did agree to add void years beyond 2024, the Packers could end up pushing as much as $12.028 million of cap money out of 2023 and into the future.
If Bakhtiari did not accept any void years and splits the restructured money over just 2023 and 2024, his cap numbers will be as follows (rounding to the nearest $0.1 million for simplicity’s sake):
2023: $21.7 million
2024: $40.58 million
A massive $19.1 million of Bakhtiari’s 2024 cap hit is tied up in prorated signing bonus money that has already been paid out. Therefore, by performing this restructure, the Packers have guaranteed that they will be keeping Bakhtiari in Green Bay for at least the 2023 season. Now that the restructure is complete, a release or trade of Bakhtiari before June 1st would result in that $19.1 million accelerating into 2023, making his salary cap hit roughly $40.8 million if the team were to move him. That number would be the same for a pre-June 1st move regardless of whether void years come into play.
In summary, by restructuring Bakhtiari the Packers have freed up a minimum of $7.5 million and a maximum of about $12 million in salary cap space for 2023, with the deal effectively assuring that the team cannot financially afford to move him in a potential trade of Aaron Rodgers. One way or another Bakhtiari will be protecting the blind side of the Packers’ quarterback this fall.