David Bakhtiari is finished in Green Bay after 11 seasons

GREEN BAY, Wis. – After as many knee surgeries as All-Pro seasons, David Bakhtiari has been released by the Green Bay Packers. A source told ESPN that Bakhtiari is not ready to end his 11-year career at the moment.

It was not immediately clear whether he intended to continue his 11-year career.

“Whatever happens next, I'm looking forward to it,” he wrote. The franchise said goodbye in a social media post on Monday.

The end seemed inevitable for Bakhtiari after he underwent a fifth surgery on his left knee late last season, effectively ending his career with the team that selected him in the fourth round of the 2013 draft.

The 32-year-old already underwent two surgeries on his left knee last fall, bringing the total number of operations on that knee to five since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament on December 31, 2020. In the past three seasons, Bakhtiari has played in just 13 of 51 games. Possible in the regular season.

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The latest issue arose after he played in last year's regular-season opener. Shortly thereafter, he underwent what he described as minor surgery to “clean up and address what we're going to do moving forward.”

This could lead to a more complex procedure to address the lateral condyle cartilage tear Bakhtiari suffered during the initial injury. He said the reason he didn't repair it during his first ACL surgery was because there was a possibility it wouldn't be a problem moving forward.

Bakhtiari said before his recent surgery that he hopes to be ready for the start of the 2024 training camp.

Bakhtiari was entering the final year of a four-year, $92 million extension he signed in November 2020, less than two months before he tore his ACL. He was scheduled to make $21.5 million this season, and since none of it is guaranteed, that will be wiped off the Packers' salary cap. However, they will count more than $19 million in dead money in the cap for 2024. He would have counted $40.5 million had he been on the roster to start the season.

It didn't take long for Bakhtiari to establish himself as one of the best left tackles in the NFL. He was named All-Pro for the first time in 2016, when he was named to the second team. He also joined the second team in 2017 and 2019. He was named a first-team All-Pro in 2018 and 2020.

Even after the injury, Bakhtiari performed at the highest level when he could play. The problem was that he couldn't stay in the lineup consistently. The Packers only allowed Bakhtiari to practice occasionally in an effort to keep him in games.

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Bakhtiari said last fall between his fourth and fifth surgeries that he wanted to keep playing but realized the business side of things could prevent that from happening in Green Bay.

“I think everything is on the table,” Bakhtiari said in October. “For me, I can only control what I can control. I think making sure we attack the rehab, win the day, take the bites of that elephant, take down the elephant, and then make the decision and look. They have decisions that they need to make. What's best for their franchise. They have I understood that the minute I got here.

Bakhtiari was one of the last Aaron Rodgers confidants still on the team's roster.

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst has plenty of high draft picks if he wants to use one on left tackle. He has five picks in the first three rounds, including a two-thirds round.

Rasheed Walker, a seventh-round pick in 2022, served as Bakhtiari's backup for most of the season. When asked recently if Walker could be a starter, Gutekunst said: “I definitely think he's already shown he's done a great job.”

However, Gutekunst stopped short of naming Walker heir apparent.

“I want to compete in all five spots,” Gutekunst said. “But Rasheed, again, another guy who sees improvement in the work he has done, is exactly what we want, and we expect him to continue to improve. But he had a very good year last year, and he has a lot of positives.” great person. “I'm excited to see where he goes.”

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