David Bakhtiari is going to the Pro Bowl after all.
The NFL announced Monday that Bakhtiari had been added to the roster as an injury replacement for Philadelphia’s Jason Peters.
The Green Bay Packers left tackle was among several players that were viewed as snubs when the Pro Bowl rosters were announced last month, but now he’ll get the experience in Orlando anyway.
He won’t, however, be joined by all of his teammates that were selected.
Guard T.J. Lang, a first-time Pro Bowler, will be replaced by former Packers guard Josh Sitton due to injury. Lang, who is a free agent this offseason, will undergo hip surgery on Friday.
“Definitely wanted to be there,” Lang said Monday. “But it’s not the end of the world.”
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers also won’t play in the game. He’ll be replaced by Washington’s Kirk Cousins.
Another first-time Pro Bowler, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, is from Orlando and said he intends to be there.
Few things are more important for a quarterback than the guy that is protecting his blind side. So when Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers heard the news that left tackle David Bakhtiari had agreed to a contract extension, you can imagine his excitement.
“Tackles block ends, as (former offensive coordinator) Joe Philbin said for years around here,” Rodgers said. “He’s done a great job of taking care of my back and keeping me clean. I’m really happy for him. It’s the Packer way, as you guys know, draft, develop and pay. He’s another guy that deserved it, so I’m really happy for him.”
The new four-year extension will see Bakhtiari earn as much as $57.1 million, a deal Rodgers believes he’s worthy of.
“I thought he was a 10- to 12-year guy at left tackle, a mainstay, a guy you can build your offensive line around. He hasn’t disappointed those expectations,” Rodgers said Wednesday as the Green Bay continued their preparation for Sunday’s game at Minnesota. “I think he’s done a great job for us over the years of continuing to improve.
“He’s a guy that you can count on.”
Bakhtiari has started 47 of a possible 49 games in his career since being a fourth-round draft pick out of Colorado in 2013. His value was never more apparent than the two games he missed last year, as Green Bay struggled to find someone that could hold up at the most difficult spot along the offensive line.
The Packers attention contract-wise likely now turns to 25-year-old center J.C. Tretter and 28-year-old right guard T.J. Lang.
GREEN BAY | Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari has agreed to a four-year deal worth up to $51.67 million. The deal makes Bakhtiari among the top five highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL.
Bakhtiari was set to become a free agent after this season. The fourth-round pick in 2013 will receive about $17 million in guaranteed money and earn an additional $10.7M in March roster bonuses and workout pay.
The move explains, in part, why the Packers were so quick to part with veteran guard Josh Sitton. This deal would have put Sitton well below Bakhtiari in average salary. Sitton, who was cut by the Packers just before the season began, has since signed with the Chicago Bears.
The Packers will now likely look to sign center JC Tretter and guard T.J. Lang to contract extensions.
By Jake Zimmermann
January 15, 2016 2:41 PM
PHOENIX, Ariz. | It appears the Packers may have all five of their regular offensive line starters back for Saturday night’s game in Arizona. Left tackle David Bakhtiari practiced well enough this week that head coach Mike McCafthy has listed him as probable to play in the NFC divisional round playoff game against the Cardinals. This would be the first game action for Bakhtiari since week 15 when he suffered a sprained ankle. Bakhtiari did not play in the Packers week 16 game at Arizona when Aaron Rodgers was sacked eight times.
Cornerbacks Sam Shields (concussion) and Quinten Rollins (quadriceps) are both listed as questionable. Tight end Andrew Quarless has been placed on season ending IR. As expected receiver Davante Adams is also out with a knee injury.
The Packers and Cardinals kickoff at 7:15 p.m. CST Saturday night at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.