After an extended 2021 — full with a speedy heel flip — that ended with a home-playoff loss as the highest seed in NFL, together with Aaron Rodgers second consecutive MVP, the drama seems to be over. Rodgers signed a three-year extension throughout the offseason that ensures him over 100 million, and averages out to $50 million per 12 months. If he does determine to conclude his profession upon the tip of the deal, that’s some huge cash for him to make use of to discover the solutions to no matter questions he believes that life hasn’t but revealed to him.
The draw back for Rodgers nonetheless, is on the enjoying subject. The Packers’ offense goes to look a lot totally different. His emergency escape hatch, Davante Adams, is gone. He left the frozen tundra for the desert with the Las Vegas Raiders. Marquez Valdez-Scantling was the Packers’ No. 2 vast receiver final 12 months and now he’s with the Kansas City Chiefs. They’re additionally down three of their fundamental contributors from the offensive line. Utility man inside lineman Lucas Patrick is now with the rival Chicago Bears, and their two tackles, Billy Turner and Dennis Kelly, are additionally on totally different groups.
That’s to not say the Packers have been complete all of final season both. Tight finish Robert Tonyan tore an ACL in late October and was activated from the PUP record a few weeks in the past. A one-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman, Elgton Jenkins, was additionally activated however he has been engaged on learning a new position at coaching camp — proper deal with. Josh Myers was a rookie in 2021 that started the season because the beginning heart, however accidents compromised his efficiency, and after his sixth begin he was out till the tail finish of the season with a damaged tibia and torn MCL. The unit nonetheless managed to be ranked 14th by Pro Football Focus, and completed sixth in adjusted sack price.
It’s going to be a unique world for Rodgers behind heart with all of those recovering gamers, and likewise relying on two rookies, Romeo Doubbs and Christian Watson, to select up the slack at vast receiver alongside veterans Sammy Watkins, Randall Cobb, and Allen Lazard. That’s why the Packers want a participant who returned from the PUP record on Sunday to slot in precisely the place he left off in 2020.
David Bakhtiari is the second-highest paid offensive deal with within the historical past of the NFL. He made 5 consecutive All-Pro groups from 2016-2020. Part of the explanation for his dominance: he was at all times on the sphere. In his first seven seasons he missed greater than two video games in a season as soon as. Then in 2020 he tore an ACL on New Year’s Eve. He tried to return earlier than the playoffs in 2021, however it didn’t work for him and he wasn’t capable of play within the playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
The Packers have been shifting round lineman for a few years to guard the most effective gamers in franchise historical past, however what helps a quarterback when down the most effective go blockers within the sport for a season is a go catcher who might be focused almost thrice greater than another participant on the group. Adams was focused 169 occasions and caught 123 passes for 1,553 yards and 11 touchdowns. The subsequent most focused go catcher was working again Aaron Jones with 65.
As nice as Rodgers is, his world goes to be vastly totally different with out Adams, whom he’s focused greater than 100 occasions in every of the final six seasons. The Packers now not have a inexperienced and gold bullseye working down the sphere each play. At NFL recreation pace, it’s going to take Rodgers a while to regulate to having no emergency downfield possibility, and as soon as once more, shifting elements on the offensive line.
The greatest method to assist Rodgers regulate to his environment is extra time within the pocket. It’s why they signed Bakhtiari to that $100-plus million extension in 2020. He was anticipated to be a cornerstone of this franchise because the left deal with who’s eight years youthful than the beginning quarterback. That’s the type of elite blindside safety that helps decelerate a quarterback’s getting old course of. It permits him to place only a bit extra effort into playmaking than self preservation, which may reduce the blow of dropping the most effective vast receivers within the sport.
Bakhtiari has been that sort of a participant when wholesome. The Packers want him to be that participant greater than ever in 2022.