Packers OT David Bakhtiari agrees to contract extension

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay Packers offensive lineman David Bakhtiari has agreed to a contract extension that will keep the Pro Bowl left tackle off the free-agent market in the offseason.

Bakhtiari’s contract has been set to expire at the end of the 2020 season. Bakhtiari’s agent, Mark Humenik, confirmed that his client had agreed to a four-year deal worth up to $105.5 million with a $30 million signing bonus.

“I do love it here, and I love representing the Packers,” Bakhtiari said Sunday after the Packers’ 24-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Bakhtiari also appreciated the Packers’ investment in him. Bakhtiari said he told his agent that he wanted to know before signing the deal whether it would make him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history.

“I explicitly asked him and he said, ‘Yes, it is,’” Bakhtiari said. “So I said, ‘OK, then let’s do it.’”

Bakhtiari said that had long been a goal of his.

“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 onto and have that title for the rest of my life,” Bakhtiari said. “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 29-year-old Bakhtiari has spent his entire career with the Packers, who selected him out of Colorado in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. He has been a starter since his rookie season.

Bakhtiari earned second-team Associated Press All-Pro honors last year and eared his second Pro Bowl invitation.

“Obviously wrapping him up seemed to be of some benefit to the organization long term,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “Best left tackle in the game, future Hall of Famer probably.”

Bakhtiari said his recent injury gave him and the Packers time to communicate a bit more on contract negotiations. Before returning to action Sunday, Bakhtiari had missed three games with what the team had described as a chest injury. Bakhtiari clarified it after Sunday’s game by saying he had a broken rib.

The move to extend Bakhtiari’s contract comes after the Packers already had agreed this summer to a four-year, $70 million extension with defensive tackle Kenny Clark.

“He’s playing at an extremely high level,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said. “He’s very important to what we’re doing. So, I think we’ve always kind of believed when good players develop themselves into where he is, we certainly like to retain them.”

The Packers have plenty of other difficult decisions to make. The Packers’ list of potential free agents next year includes running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, center Corey Linsley and cornerback Kevin King, among others.

“I think there’s opportunities to get some deals done,” Gutekunst said. “We’ll kind of have to wait and see how that goes. Every situation is a little bit different. But the ’21 cap situation, again, is problematic. Everyone is trying to kind of solve and figure out how they’re going to solve that going forward.”

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