On December 31, 2020, David Bakhtiari tore his ACL in practice. He would then come back and play over a year later against the Detroit Lions in week 18. This was a game that didn’t matter with the Packers already having the one seed clinched. Green Bay wanted to get Bakhtiari some playing time before the playoffs started, but he never played in the playoffs after this game. Bakhtiari obviously came back too early, because he made his knee worse and needed surgery in the offseason.
Ever since Bakhtiari hurt his knee and came back, he has been a question mark every week. He missed the first two weeks when the Packers played the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears. In the first few games where Bakhtiari was active, he played half the game splitting the reps with Yosh Nijman. He played well in the limited reps he was in and was on his way to playing the full game. Against the New York Giants in week 5, he only played 25 snaps. The Packers said it was from the flight and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium field conditions. It seemed believable with Bakhtiari playing 69 snaps against the New York Jets and looking to string together games where he plays all the offensive snaps. The next week against the Washington Commanders, he was inactive after having knee trouble the entire week leading up to the game. It’s really getting hard to be able to trust him week in and week out. If Bakhtiari continues to be in and out of the lineup this year, there is a good chance he won’t be on the team next season. When he plays, he has shown flashes of his old self. The second half of the season will be big for him.
Although Bakhtiari has been an all pro and has played like it at times this season, the Packers will be just fine at left tackle. Green Bay has Yosh Nijman, who has played well replacing Bakhtiari, but also has a rookie offensive lineman who made his first start against the Commanders. Zach Tom was drafted in the fourth round and finally got to start in his first game in the NFL. Tom and Nijman both played well against the Commanders. This could be a big thing moving forward for this offensive line.
If Nijman and Tom keep playing well this season and Bakhtiari keeps missing time, he could be done in Green Bay after this season. Bakhtiari has a massive contract and is supposed to make around 29 million dollars in 2023. Green Bay can’t afford to pay him this much money when you can’t rely on him to play a full season. They have too many other players that they need to sign. Bakhtiari is a fan favorite in Green Bay and will be a sad day for all Packers fans when he is gone.