What’s next? Big decisions loom for Packers GM after Bakhtiari extension

Packers
Brian Gutekunst

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – JANUARY 09: Brian Gutekunst Genral Manager of the Green Bay Packers speaks to the media during a press conference introducing Matt LaFleur as head coach at Lambeau Field on January 09, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

(WFRV) – The Packers had some pretty big free agency questions heading into the season with some big names set to hit the open market in 2021.

On Sunday, they took care of one of their own by signing left tackle David Bakhtiari to a four year contract extension that’s worth up to $105.5 million dollars, according to multiple reports. The record deal for an offensive lineman includes a $30 million dollar signing bonus, according to the NFL Network.

Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari (69) during an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov 15. 2020, between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Bakhtiari certainly proved his worth since being picked by Green Bay in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. Since the man charged with protecting Aaron Rodgers’ blindside has been named to an Associated Press All-Pro Team four times, including a first team selection in 2018, and two Pro Bowls.

“He’s playing at an extremely high level and it was important to what we’re doing. I think we’ve always kind of believed that when good players develop themselves into where he is, we like to retain them, really excited to get to keep him in the fold,” said general manager Brian Gutekunst.

He’s the second player to get an extension this year. Back in training camp defensive lineman Kenny Clark signed a four year extension reportedly worth up to $70 million dollars.

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) runs during an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov 15. 2020, between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

But who’s next?

The first name that comes to mind is running back Aaron Jones, who is in the final year of his rookie contract and could hit the market after this season. Center Corey Linsley and cornerback Kevin King are both at the end of their contracts as well, but most questions will be about the running back who led the league in touchdowns a year ago.

According to Gutekunst the Packers have more flexibility after signing Bakhtiari to an extension.

“The players that might be available to us during the March period may be a little different than it has been in the past, and we want to have some flexibility to do those things if we can,” said Gutekunst. “So, we’ve always believed we’d like to take care of our own first, but we’d also like to have some flexibility to see what the market might bring in March.”

Another avenue for general managers is the draft. Green Bay already picked a running back in 2020 by adding AJ Dillon in the second round. They also have Jamaal Williams set to come off his rookie deal as well.

So, Green Bay has plenty of options. Only time will tell what they do.

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