The All-Pro wasn’t just making his return from broken ribs, he was doing so as the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history.
Shortly before he went to bed, Bakhtiari signed a four-year contract extension that can be worth up to $105.5 million, a source confirmed to ESPN.
The Packers announced the extension shortly after Sunday’s 24-20 win at Lambeau Field. The base value of the deal is $103.5 million with another $2 million in incentives and includes the highest signing bonus — $30 million, all payable before the end of the 2020 season — for an offensive lineman, the source said, adding that the total cash flow amount is $37.052 million in the first year and $64.5 million in the first three years.
ProFootballTalk.com first reported the news of Bakhtiari’s extension.
“That was something that I’ve been chasing for a while,” Bakhtiari said. “In having the talks with my family, 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 on to and have that title for the rest of my life. 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, who was a fourth-round pick in 2013 by previous general manager Ted Thompson, has been either first- or second-team All-Pro each of the past four years. Several times during his interview following Sunday’s game, Bakhtiari had to compose himself after getting emotional.
Four years ago, Bakhtiari did his last contract extension shortly before the season opener against the Jaguars.
“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. … Not too many people in their professional career get to that long of a career in one area. There’s still work to do but I’m continuing that track and on that pace and it’s much appreciated.”
The deal likely means that for however long Aaron Rodgers is the Packers’ quarterback, he will have Bakhtiari to protect him. Since the start of the 2017 season, Bakhtiari has ranked first in ESPN’s pass block win rate among all tackles.
“I was privy to some of the conversations that were going on and was wondering where we were going to get to before the end of this year, obviously wrapping him up seemed to be of some benefit to the organization long term, best left tackle in the game, future Hall of Famer probably,” Rodgers said. “Very happy for him.”
It’s the second blockbuster deal that general manager Brian Gutekunst has done since the start of training camp. In August, he signed Kenny Clark to a four-year, $70 million extension.
The Packers still have several key starters and contributors scheduled to become free agents, and Gutekunst said Bakhtiari’s extension doesn’t prevent Green Bay from signing more players from the group that includes running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, center Corey Linsley and cornerback Kevin King.
“I think this was actually an important part of what we’re trying to do,” Gutekunst said.