The PUP list has no consequences, but it’s not a great sign that Bakhtiari is on it a year and a half after his ACL injury.
On Saturday, ESPN’s Field Yates reported that the Green Bay Packers have placed left tackle David Bakhtiari on the physically unable to perform list. Bakhtiari, who missed the vast majority of last season’s action, is recovering from a 2020 ACL tear. According to Bakhtiari himself, issues arose with his recovery in 2021 due to an odd swelling issue that ballooned his knee full of liquid.
In total, Bakhtiari played just 27 snaps in 2021, all against the Detroit Lions in Week 18. Despite starting the game, Bakhtiari left the lineup before halftime as his knee once again became an issue. After the wildcard bye week, the Packers elected to start Billy Turner, typically the team’s right tackle, as their left tackle against San Francisco. This move was made despite the fact that Yosh Nijman, a breakout in 2021, had replaced Elgton Jenkins as Bakhtiari’s replacement on the left side of the line.
Like Bakhtiari, Jenkins is also starting training camp on the PUP list as he recovers from his own ACL tear. Nijman has seen a significant amount of snaps at left tackle this summer, only bouncing to right tackle in open practices when starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers is under center. Prior to the Bakhtiari news, the assumption was that the former All-Pro was going to be ready for training camp and that Nijman may have a chance to slide into Turner’s old starting job. At this point, though, we must question if Nijman will be playing left tackle again this season.
There is virtually no consequence for putting a player on the PUP list and this may just be a conservative move by the coaching staff. A player can come off of the PUP list at any point during the preseason by practicing with the squad. If a player is still on the PUP list during final cuts, he will not count against the team’s 53-man roster but will have to sit out at least four games before he is eligible to return to the team. Once he returns to the team, there is a 20-day window in which he can practice with the squad without having to be activated to the 53-man roster, at which point the team has the choice to activate him or place him on the injured reserve list.
Bakhtiari went through this process last season, He began practicing with the team on October 18th and was activated to the 53-man roster from the PUP list on November 10th. He later made his season debut on January 9th.
Again, there are no consequences to being placed on the PUP list. Maybe Bakhtiari is healthy enough to start practicing with the team on Day 1 of training camp. We have little information on the situation other than head coach Matt LaFleur’s comments during OTAs about being hopeful that Bakhtiari would be ready to go for the start of training camp. If that’s not the case, though, questions about his status for this season will start popping up once more.