The Packers have finally locked up their Pro Bowl left tackle.
David Bakhtiari has agreed to a four-year extension worth up to $105.5 million in new money, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday, per sources. The contract includes a $30 million signing bonus, a record for an offensive lineman, and another $30-plus million in March roster bonuses over the course of the next 28 months, Rapoport added. The practical guarantee is for at least $62.8 million before the end of 2022.
With a base salary of $23 million per year (and potentially $23.5 million), Bakhtiari becomes the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history and is now on Green Bay's books through the 2024 season.
While that distinction is one Bakhtiari held out for by not signing sooner, it's not something he anticipated when he was younger.
"You don't really know how to measure someone's heart, someone's passion, someone's work ethic," he told reporters. "And that teenager wasn't the most physically gifted but he had everything else that pushed him to be where he is today."
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst asserted that the big bonus gives the team "more flexibility" with its cap, a significant development as it concerns pending free-agent running back Aaron Jones.
Aaron Rodgers' blindside protector had been playing out the final season of a previous four-year extension, during which time he'd grown into a star. Bakhtiari made the Pro Bowl last year and in 2016 and was first-team All-Pro in 2018. (His 2017 campaign was cut short by a hamstring injury.)
The eighth-year lineman returned to action Sunday after missing the past three games with broken ribs, helping the Packers hold off the Jaguars for a 24-20 victory and improve to 7-2 on the season. Rodgers said the confluence of events will have him celebrating with his "best friend" Bakhtiari.
"Wrapping him up was something that seemed to benefit the organization in the long term," Rodgers said. "Best left tackle in the game and future Hall of Famer, probably."