David Bakhtiari on trade block? Packers’ GM Brian Gutekunst sets record straight

GREEN BAY, Wis. — As if common sense and the financial implications didn’t end the speculation surrounding a potential David Bakhtiari trade to the Jets already, Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst put an official end to it on Friday.

“First of all, we’re not going to trade David, so let’s just get that out of the way because I know there’s been a little bit of chatter about that and it’s not going to happen,” Gutekunst said.

The five-time All-Pro left tackle has two years remaining on his contract with the Packers, who restructured his deal this year to guarantee him $15 million, as Packers capologist Ken Ingalls notes below. Not only that, but the Packers want the Jets to be bad this season so the draft pick they received in the Aaron Rodgers trade becomes better, whether it be in the first or second round. Trading an elite left tackle to them seems counterproductive. And what’s the best way to get an accurate representation of what your 24-year-old first-year starting quarterback might be? Keep him healthy. And what helps keep him healthy? Stocking his blind side with one of the best in the game at the position.

ESPN’s Mike Greenberg has been pleading for Bakhtiari to come to his Jets, whose weakness appears to be on the offensive line. In a recent “Hard Knocks” episode, head coach Robert Saleh lit into his offensive line, which Rodgers enjoyed as a strength during his 15-year tenure as Green Bay’s starting quarterback. An “Outkick” report indicated the Jets had discussions internally in passing about trading for Bakhtiari, but the Jets can discuss all they want. It takes two to tango, and Gutekunst doesn’t want to dance just because his old quarterback probably wants to.

Bakhtiari made five consecutive All-Pro teams from 2016-2020 before tearing his ACL on New Year’s Eve in 2020 during a Week 17 practice. He’s played in 12 of a potential 35 games since because of his knee and an emergency appendectomy he underwent late last season, but the Packers and Bakhtiari believe his health troubles are in the rearview after four surgeries in less than two years.

He’s been practicing on a heavily modified schedule this training camp to ensure he’s undoubtedly ready when Sundays start mattering in a couple of weeks.

“I think Dave’s a pro’s pro,” Gutekunst said. “What he went through was tough. It was tough on our football team. It was tough on him and I think he’s really in a good place right now of understanding what he needs to do to get ready to play. He was out there … in some of these joint practices and maybe he wouldn’t have been. So I think he kind of recognizes where we’re at and why he needs to be out there. At the same time, I think he knows when it’s time, when it’s really good for him to back off and get ready and I think as we get into the season, I think there’s a lot of trust with him of what he needs to do to get ready to play.”


With David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins healthy, Packers may have NFL’s best left side again

No Campbell concern

Inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, a 2021 first-team All-Pro selection, missed both joint practices with the Patriots because of an ankle injury. After Thursday’s practice, I saw a scooter in front of his locker and a walking boot inside it, though Campbell wasn’t present during the 45 minutes the locker room was open to reporters.

Defensive coordinator Joe Barry said Campbell is “going to miss a little bit of time,” but Gutekunst didn’t seem concerned about his top middle linebacker’s status for Week 1 in Chicago.

“I don’t think that’s going to be an issue,” Gutekunst said of Campbell’s availability for the season opener on Sept. 10. “It’s not something that’s going to be very long. It’s not a long-term thing. You’d like all your guys to be out there because I think this time of the year is important, but obviously he’s a seasoned pro, so I don’t think this will hold him back too much.”

In Campbell’s place, 2021 sixth-round pick Isaiah McDuffie and veteran Eric Wilson are getting starter snaps at the position alongside Quay Walker.

“The positive in that is that the Isaiah McDuffies, the Eric Wilsons, those guys get more reps and reps with the first group,” Barry said. “So that’s been positive, especially the last two days. We mixed both those guys in next to Quay the last two days with the Patriots, so it’s been a great opportunity for them. We want Dre back as soon as he can get back, but in the meantime, it’s been great work for the young guys.”

Saturday night Love

Head coach Matt LaFleur had not previously disclosed whether quarterback Jordan Love would play in Saturday night’s preseason game against the Patriots at Lambeau Field after saying last Friday night, after beating the Bengals, that Love would play again at some point this preseason.

Gutekunst tipped the team’s hand on Friday and also hinted that Love won’t be the only offensive starter playing after most of them did in the exhibition opener in Cincinnati.

“He’s been doing a lot of good things,” Gutekunst said. “Tomorrow night will be another really good step for him. I think the thing I’ve been really pleased with, and I think you guys have probably seen it too, is his command, his confidence back there and some of the things he’s doing and how he’s leading our football team. I’m very excited for him.

“I think it’s important for our offense to play together … So it’s not just him. It’s our entire offense together. We’ve got a lot of young guys that are seeing some things for the very first time.”



Packers’ 53-man roster projection: Only 3 tight ends and 2 running backs?

Barry’s change

Barry is 53 years old and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant and defensive line coach at his alma mater, USC, in 1995. He said Friday that he had never spent a game in the coach’s box upstairs as opposed to down on the field — until last Friday’s preseason opener against the Bengals.

LaFleur said after that game that he’d reconvene with his third-year defensive coordinator to see how the experience went. Asked whether calling plays from upstairs is an actual consideration this season, Barry had a glowing review.

“It really is,” he said. “Just like anything, I think you always resist things and fight things in anything that we all do and literally in my coaching career, even going back to when I was a (graduate assistant) at the very start, I’ve never been in the press box. Ever. So Matt and I were having a conversation one day … he’s like, ‘For me, as a play caller, I’d love to be in the press box,’ so I was thinking about it and I talked to some of my buddies around the league … and they were like, ‘Oh yeah, if I had the choice, I’d love to be able to do that,’ so I went back to Matt and we talked about it and I said, ‘You know what? In the preseason, I think I’m gonna just try it,’ and it was. It was great.

“Now I know what you guys have experienced all these years up in the press box. It’s much calmer up there. You can lay all your stuff out. It’s amazing how much more you’re able to accomplish in between series as far as looking at the pictures and those things, so to answer your specific question, I really liked it. So I’m gonna do it again tomorrow and yeah, I think I’m onto something here. I kinda like it.”

USATSI 21109564 scaled e1692391728429

Linebacker De’Vondre Campbell listens to defensive coordinator Joe Barry during a Packers training camp practice. (Tork Mason / USA Today)

Preaching patience

Rookie kicker Anders Carlson has been wildly inconsistent through the first couple weeks of camp. He’s made 43-of-61 field goals and after making five straight kicks to start Wednesday’s joint practice (including one extra point), he missed two field goals during end-of-game scenarios to finish practice. He didn’t do any live kicking during Thursday’s practice.

Carlson, whom the Packers drafted in the sixth round, is the younger brother of 2022 first-team All-Pro kicker Daniel Carlson of the Raiders. Daniel lost his job with the Vikings after missing three field goals in a 29-29 tie at Lambeau Field in Week 2 of the 2018 season. He’s become one of the NFL’s best kickers, making 142 of his 158 field goals since the Vikings cut him (90 percent).

Bisaccia, who coached Carlson with the Raiders from 2018-2021, is exercising patience with the younger brother.

“Brian and I were on the same page, obviously, when we made this decision,” Bisaccia said. “I think age and wisdom, to some degree, allows you to have patience, especially with the specialist position. So he’s exhibited a lot of the things that we thought he was in a lot of the positive ways and there’s always going to be things to clean up, so I think we’re excited about what tomorrow will bring and hopefully, we can play well in the game and evaluate the things that are good and keep getting better and evaluate the things we need to work on and hopefully get better in that direction, as well. But I think patience comes a little bit with age and to some degree wisdom and believing in the character of who the man is and I think we strongly believe in that with Anders.”

(Top photo: Stacy Revere / Getty Images)

The Football 100, the definitive ranking of the NFL’s best 100 players of all time, goes on sale this fall. Pre-order it here.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top