It was a goal for David Bakhtiari to be the highest paid left tackle in the National Football League. When the ink dried on the contract extension that he signed late Saturday night, the Green Bay Packers offensive lineman had just become the highest paid offensive lineman in league history.
Bakhtiari’s new deal, as reported by ESPN, is for four years and worth up to $105.5 million. It includes $2 million in incentives and a $30 million signing bonus, all payable by the end of the current 2020 season. The deal averages $23 million over the four years, surpassing the deal Laremy Tunsil signed with the Houston Texans in May ($22 million per year). ProFootballTalk.com first reported the news of Bakhtiari’s extension during Sunday’s 24-20 win over Jacksonville.
“That was something that I’ve been chasing for a while,” said Bakhtiari after the game. “In having the talks with my family, to have that monetary validation for all the hard work that I’ve put in really meant a lot and that was something that I can hold on to and have that title for the rest of my life. That is something special that I’ve been chasing really ever since I got in the league. I have goals, very lofty ones, and I always wanted to say that I was the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history and today I get to say that.”
The Packers selected Bakhtiari in the fourth-round of the 2013 draft. He signed an extension four years ago just before the season opener against the Jaguars.
Bakhtiari is the second high priced veteran to get extended this year. Defensive tackle Kenny Clark inked a four-year, $70 million dollar extension back in August.
The Packers still have a number of key players set to become free agents at the end of the season and GM Brian Gutekunst said Bakhtiari’s deal doesn’t prevent them from signing more players. Those key players are running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, center Corey Linsley and cornerback Kevin King.
It’s unlikely the Packers will be able to sign them all, so we’ll see who is next. King has struggled with injuries and has missed the last five games with a quad injury. He missed 18 of the teams 48 games in his first three seasons, which could mean the Packers may not want to shell out a lot of money for a player that can’t stay on the field.
Linsley has been a rock at center for the Packers, but may not want to tie up more money on their offensive line.
Jones has been a top back in the league for the last year and a half, but he plays a position that has a high risk for injury. That will be something the Packers will have to consider in making their future decisions. But don’t be surprised to see Gutekunst and his negotiating team sign at least one more free agent to be before the end of this season, which would allow them to spread cap money into this year as well. We’ll see if that player is Jones, who has turned himself into one of the top offensive weapons at his position in the league.