Without Aaron Rodgers in the lineup, the Green Bay Packers have no shot at winning a Super Bowl title. So it should come as no surprise that the NFC North franchise just shelled out more than $100 million to ensure No. 12 remains upright.
But can David Bakhtiari and the rest of Green Bay’s offensive line slow down an Indianapolis Colts team that recently held the Tennessee Titans in check? Or will the Packers struggle to put up points against one of the stingiest defenses in the NFL?
David Bakhtiari might be the best left tackle in football
Since arriving as the 109th overall pick of the 2013 NFL draft, David Bakhtiari has developed into an elite left tackle. Tipping the scales at 6-foot-4, 310 pounds, the California native rarely gets beaten in pass protection thanks to sound technique and underrated athleticism.
A starter since his rookie year, Bakhtiari earned his first Pro Bowl berth in 2016. He also earned second-team All-Pro honors that season.
In 2018, the former University of Colorado star earned first-team All-Pro honors. Bakhtiari also made the Pro Bowl last season after playing all 1,075 offensive snaps for the Packers.
However, a chest injury recently sidelined the left tackle for three games. Still, that didn’t stop Green Bay from breaking the bank to ensure Aaron Rodgers has time to throw in the pocket.
Aaron Rodgers receives a $105 million insurance policy from the Packers
Back in 2016, the Packers signed David Bakhtiari to a four-year, $48 million contract extension. But with that deal set to expire soon, they more than doubled that figure to retain their star left tackle.
On Sunday, Ian Rapoport reported via Twitter that the Packers signed Bakhtiari to another four-year contract extension. The three-time Pro Bowler’s new deal carries a base value of $103.5 million and can reach up to $105.5 million.
According to ESPN, Bakhtiari received a $30 million signing bonus—the highest ever for an offensive lineman. He will make nearly $65 million in the first three years of the deal.
Overall, Bakhtiari will make $23 million per year. Laremy Tunsil previously held the record for the highest average annual salary for an offensive lineman at $22 million.
“I appreciate them taking a chance on me in ’13 and drafting me in the fourth round and trusting me with the blind side, making me a top-five highest-paid left tackle and then now making me the highest-paid offensive lineman, especially to do it with one team it’s an honor,” Bakhtiari said. “That’s something that, that I really appreciate and I do love it here, and I love representing the Packers.”
By locking up arguably the best pass-protecting tackle in football, Green Bay just spent a sizable chunk of change to put Aaron Rodgers in the best position to win. And the future Hall of Famer will need his blindside protector to be at his best on Sunday against one of the top defenses in the NFL.
Green Bay faces a tough test against the Indianapolis Colts
After barely beating the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, the Packers face a much more challenging matchup in Week 11. This time, Green Bay has to go on the road to take on a 6-3 Colts team coming off an impressive victory against the Titans.
Although Indianapolis has struggled to find consistency on offense, Frank Reich’s team has been dominant on the other side of the ball. The Colts currently rank fourth in points allowed and recently held Derrick Henry and Co. to only 17 points on Thursday Night Football.
David Bakhtiari and the rest of Green Bay’s starting five will have to contend with a front seven that features DeForest Buckner (2.5 sacks, 16 quarterback hits), Denico Autry (six sacks, seven QBH), and Justin Houston (3.5 sacks, seven QBH). Linebackers Darius Leonard and Bobby Okereke bring elite athleticism and playmaking ability to the mix.
Meanwhile, the Packers counter with the third-highest scoring offense in the league. Davante Adams (61 catches, 741 yards, nine touchdowns) continues to dominate as Rodgers’ go-to weapon. Marquez Valdes-Scantling will look to build off his 149-yard outing against the Jaguars. Dynamic running back Aaron Jones can also give the Colts problems with his dual-threat ability.
Overall, this should be a competitive showdown between two legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Let’s see if the Packers can extend their winning streak to three games, or if the Colts can take down another playoff-caliber team for the second straight week.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.