Future unclear for Packers' David Bakhtiari after 4th surgery

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari's future with the Green Bay Packers -- for both this season and beyond -- has never been more in doubt, and coach Matt LaFleur did not give much reason for optimism on Monday.

Less than a week after Bakhtiari was placed on injured reserve and underwent surgery, the fourth on his left knee in less than three years, LaFleur would not say whether Bakhtiari will play for the Packers again this season -- or ever.

"Yeah, I'll let Dave comment on that," LaFleur said. "I know he wanted to talk to you guys later on. I'll let him talk about his timeline."

The 32-year-old five-time All-Pro played only one game this season, the opener against the Bears, before problems with the knee recurred. After missing the Week 2 game at Atlanta, Bakhtiari said he had not strongly considered retirement at any point during his recovery attempts. However, that was before this latest surgery.

"He put in so much hard work to try and get back," Packers offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich said Monday. "You just feel for him for all the things he's been through."

Bakhtiari has played in just 13 games since the start of the 2021 regular season after he blew out his left knee in practice on Dec. 31, 2020. The Packers treated him with kid gloves this past summer during training camp, giving him days off whenever he needed them. He played in the season opener without having practiced in the week leading up to the game.

Bakhtiari signed a four-year, $92 million contract extension in November 2020, just six weeks before his injury. The team restructured that contract each of the past two offseasons. In March, the Packers converted $5.5 million of his base salary and a $9.5 million roster bonus into a signing bonus for salary cap purposes. His cap number for 2024, the final year of the deal, spiked to $40.565 million as part of that restructure.

If the Packers release or trade Bakhtiari next offseason, they would save $21.5 million in cap space by wiping out his nonguaranteed base salary ($20.2 million) and bonuses ($1.3 million) for 2024. He would count $19.065 million in dead money on next year's cap.

The Packers have injury issues on their offensive line in addition to Bakhtiari. Left guard Elgton Jenkins has missed the past two games because of a sprained MCL, and right tackle Zach Tom played last week against the Lions despite a knee injury. Right guard Jon Runyan suffered a sprained ankle against Detroit and likely will be on the injury report headed into next Monday night's game at the Las Vegas Raiders.