Green Bay Packers offensive lineman David Bakhtiari may be staring down a lost season in 2023 with his ongoing knee issues.
In 2023, Bakhtiari featured in just one game, the season-opener against the Bears, before his recurring knee issue forced him to sit out the last three weeks. The 32-year-old left tackle tore his ACL in 2020 and never fully recovered, missing a handful of games in every season after that.
Following Week 1, the Packers placed him on injured reserve and he underwent surgery for his knee, his fourth surgery in the span of three years.
Heading into Week 5, head coach Matt LaFleur didn't have very many optimistic things to say about Bakhtiari's rehab. LaFleur said, "I'm very concerned. Any time you don't have a Pro Bowler like him in the lineup, it's a concern."
LaFleur didn't give a timeline of when, if at all, Bakhtiari would return this season.
Packers' offensive line gets depressing news with David Bakhtiari
Looking at his contract, Bakhtiari's time with the Packers may be coming to a close after this season. The three-time Pro Bowler signed a four-year, $92 million extension in 2020 (six weeks before his unfortunate injury) and has allowed the team to restructure his deal in the last two offseasons. Due to those restructures, Bakhtiari is set to make roughly $40 million in 2024, which is the final year of his contract.
Should the Packers move on from Bakhtiari, they would have to eat some dead money but they would also save a good chunk against the cap.
Green Bay nonetheless expected Bakhtiari to deliver at least one more solid season in 2023. It's sad to see the veteran tackle continue to be hindered by a knee injury, and Matt LaFleur is right to be concerned.
Bakhtiari isn't getting any younger, and his knee clearly hasn't completely healed. If his situation doesn't improve, it seems likely his tenure with the Packers may get cut short a year early.