The return of Packers LT David Bakhtiari was much anticipated in 2021. However, that quest ultimately fell short, as Packers fans know. After recovering from a torn ACL throughout the season, the Packers were hopeful that they’d have their star Left Tackle back in time for the playoffs. Instead, Bakhtiari played a handful of snaps in a relatively meaningless Week 18 game in Detroit two weeks prior and after further evaluation, was ruled out in the Packers NFC Divisional Playoff game against San Francisco. In total, Bakhtiari appeared in 1 game in the 2021 season and logged 27 snaps.
The Packers 10 year veteran at Left Tackle inked a 4 year deal worth up to $105mm in November of 2020, keeping him in Green Bay through the 2024 season. Although the extension coupled with Bakhtiari’s production hasn’t worked so far, the Packers and their fans remain hopeful that the next three seasons have greener pastures. Prior to his knee injury which occurred in the final game of the 2020 regular season in Chicago, Bakhtiari had only missed 10 games in his entire career, a testament to his toughness and durability.
After being out of the picture for almost two calendar years, it can be easy to overlook how good Bakhtiari is and how important he is for the Packers. The 2013, 4th round selection out of University of Colorado is a 5 time All-Pro selection in the NFL, making it to either first team or second team All-Pro in 5 straight season from 2016-2020. The pure dominance the burly big man has showcased through out his career cannot be overstated and a healthy Bakhtiari would go a long way in the Packers success in the upcoming 2022 season.
In a January 2022 interview with Cheesehead TV, Bakhtiari essentially said that he’s good to go.
“The hurdle you want to get over is having a full recovery from an ACL,” Bakhtiari said. “I know my ACL is good. My meniscus is good, they cut out like 10-15 percent of it. It’s just my knee needing rest. Structurally it’s good. Just need to take this time off.”
The return of the 30 year old Bakhtiari not only solidifies the Left Tackle position but also the remaining pieces of the line. It allows players like Elgton Jenkins, another terrific Packers lineman, to focus on one position and not have to fill-in when needed at LT. As it stands right now, the Packers offensive line of Bakhtiari (LT), Jon Runyan (LG), Josh Myers (C), Royce Newman (RG) and Elgton Jenkins (RT) is good, with players like Yosh Nijman, Sean Rhyan (2022 3rd round pick) and Zach Tom (2022 4th round pick) as nice depth pieces.
Aaron Rodgers also gets one of his best buddies back on the field with him. Teammates and friends since 2013, the chemistry and trust between 12 and 69 runs deep. With Bakhtiari protecting Rodgers’ blind side, it should make Rodgers feel more comfortable on the field, which he will need more than ever this year with the inevitable growing pains that will come without Davante Adams.
As the Packers look to make another run at a championship in 2022, the return of David Bakhtiari will play a big factor in that. If Green Bay is able to get their LT back in the fold and have him on the field consistently, it’ll be a boost for the Packers offense.
Alex grew up in a family of Chicago Bears fans in the suburbs of Chicago but was always a diehard Packers fan. Alex\’s AIM name when he was in elementary/middle school was PackerAlex. He now lives in Nashville, Tennessee and you can follow him on twitter at @Alex_Mayer93.