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All-Pro Free Agent Should Be Healthy, Ready For 2024

Free agent David Bakhtiari battled knee injuries for most of the past few seasons, but the two-time All-Pro should be healthy for 2024.
David Bakhtiari Free Agent

Left tackle is one of the most important positions in the game, and free agent David Bakhtiari is arguably the best option left on the market. When healthy, the former fourth-round pick is one of the best all-around players in the league. Serving as an immovable wall capable of matching speed and holding up to bull rushes, only a small handful of players can match his raw potential.

Unfortunately, the past few years have not been kind to the two-time All-Pro. Knee injuries limited David Bakhtiari to just 13 games over the past few seasons, leaving the Packers no choice but to make their franchise tackle a free agent in a cost-cutting move. Now entering his age-33 season, a recent report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport suggests that Bakhtiari’s injury woes could be a thing of the past.

Free Agent David Bakhtiari “On Schedule” To Play In 2024

Let’s start with a disclaimer: the offseason is a time for unbridled optimism for players, coaches, and teams alike. David Bakhtiari might be in good shape now, but nobody should bet on the free agent playing a full 17-game season next year. The human body can only handle so many hits, and four straight seasons of knee injuries suggest that Bakhtiari’s body can no longer handle the physical nature of the game.

With that being said, some teams should be interested in signing David Bakhtiari as a free agent. There aren’t enough good tackles to go around, as the former Packer has the potential to be one of the best in the game. While he probably won’t reach his old form in 2024, he should come cheap and is worth a gamble for the following five organizations.

Possible Destinations

New England Patriots

Drake Maye is the future of the franchise, but the North Carolina product will struggle to survive behind this offensive line. Cole Strange won’t be on the field for a bit while third-round rookie Caedan Wallace is currently set to start at left tackle. Perhaps Wallace is up for the challenge, but New England should bring in a veteran capable of starting early in the season. David Bakhtiari is a perfect free agent for the job, and current general manager Eliot Wolf should be familiar with the All-Pro from their collective time in Green Bay.

New Orleans Saints

Derek Carr is one of the worst quarterbacks in the league against pressure, so the Saints should invest in the offensive line. First-round pick Taliese Fuaga can hold down the left side, but right tackle Ryan Ramczyk has his own injury concerns. If Ramcyzk can’t play, then free agent David Bakhtiari can slide in at right tackle and keep Carr upright. However, if Ramczyk is ready to go, then Bakhtiari will probably play over the promising yet unpolished Fuaga.

Kansas City Chiefs

Four of Kansas City’s five offensive line spots are locked in stone. The fifth, however, is arguably the most important. The Chiefs selected Kingsley Suamataia in the second round with the hope of turning him into the long-term answer at left tackle. While the BYU product has the potential to live up to that billing, David Bakhtiari can be a Day 1 starter as a free agent. Kansas City is going for a three-peat and shouldn’t let Saumataia learn on the fly if it costs them a shot at a title.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens believe Roger Rosengarten is the future of the tackle position. They might be correct, but they should find someone who can be the present-day left tackle. Baltimore lost several key players over the offseason and don’t have the cap space to spend big on any specific position. This makes David Bakhtiari a perfect free agent target, as the two-time All-Pro can sign an incentive-laden deal with a minimal charge to the salary cap.

Carolina Panthers

Of course, there is a chance David Bakhtiari can’t find a starting job as a free agent. If that happens, the Panthers are an ideal fit for the veteran. After a promising rookie year, 2022 first-round pick Ikem Ekwonu took a major step back in 2023. If he continues to struggle, Bakhtiari could step in and provide adequate protection for potential franchise quarterback Bryce Young.

Main Photo: Mike De Sisti – USA Today Sports


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