Cory's Corner: Bakh Should've Been First

David Bakhtiari should not have to wait for an extension. 

Kenny Clark had to get paid. He is the anchor of the Packers front seven and he turns 25 in October — the youngest starter on the defensive front seven. 

But I'll be honest. 

I was actually surprised that Clark was first.

And the reason is because of the quarterback position. The Packers took Jordan Love as their quarterback of the future. The last thing he needs is to transition into a starting role with questions about who is going to block his blind side. And similarly, Aaron Rodgers turns 37 this year and he isn't as mobile as he once was. It is imperative to keep him upright and comfortable. 

That's why David Bakhtiari needed to be signed. And yes, I know he turns 29 at the end of September, but he remains one of the best left tackles in the league — and he has been for years. We all know that quarterback is bar none the most important position in sports, which then places a large price on protecting that investment. According to Pro Football Focus, Bakhtiari played 1,075 offensive snaps last year and only allowed two sacks. He is the best offensive tackle in the league. 

Bakhtiari may still be signed, but he should've been a higher priority. The Packers have a Hall of Fame quarterback, but the only way the solid play continues is if Rodgers isn't constantly looking over his shoulder. 

Aside from Bakhtiari's production, he will also serve a vital role as a leader on the offensive line. He is entering his eighth season and he has started all 16 regular season games five times. His teammates see that and it turns into a trickle down effect.

Even if none of those things interest you, in terms of importance, Bakhtiari is the No. 2 player on this team behind the person that he protects. 

Clark will be the face of the Packers defensive line for the forseeable future, but Bakhtiari has proven his worth. It was time for the Packers to prove what he means to them. 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (28)

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

August 18, 2020 at 06:23 am

Depends on whether they believe one of their other young OTs has the ability to be a decent starter. With switching to more of a running game, it's possible the Packers will no longer need an elite LOT. There DEFINITELY is a huge drop-off after Clark. I absolutely think age is a major factor as well. If we consider 32 a reasonable age for OTs and DTs to be before a likely dropoff, Bakh is 3 years away ,and Clark is 8 years away. A much safer investment.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

August 18, 2020 at 07:09 am

Not when you're talking abiut a 4 year contract. Also look at the dropoff between Bahktiari and our backup LT there's the same type of dropoff. Maybe the Packers have their eye on a LT in this year's draft? Maybe they feel like they have their replacement in the roster or maybe they are still trying to figure out hiw to pay Bahktiari. Time will tell.

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Bure9620's picture

August 18, 2020 at 06:31 am

Okay but watching this Organization for years from Wolf to Thompson to Gute, what do we know? They lean towards getting young and resigning their best young players...they shy away from and give lower priority to players on the wrong side of 30......3rd contracts are rare in GB.....Clark is a monster and he is only 25...Bahktiari will be 30 in September of '21, so on the worng side of 30 for his whole next contract. I think they do not get a deal done with Bahk.....he is either Franchise tagged or they let him walk.

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stockholder's picture

August 18, 2020 at 07:02 am

Clark deserved to be first. He earned it. The defense needed him. The age difference is the key. Bahk like Bulaga, Sitton, etc. Don't fit the future. Bahk must know: this is his last chance at a big contract. He's been absolutely one of the best Lt in packers history. But;-- and thats the "word" that says he won't get resigned. But/// is the OL!. ( Linsey, Turner, Wagner.) If Bahk does get Franchised. Is one better then three? We know he wasn't, even in his prime. Changes are coming to GB. Either Arron Rodgers gets a new OL. Or he is done as a packer. Yes- Clark had to be first.

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kypackfan's picture

August 18, 2020 at 07:43 am

cory I do enjoy your thoughts and point of views. But I rarely agree with you. And once again you got it wrong. As Ron Wolf said "they only make so may big men" so you better keep the good ones. I may be mistaken but he was referring to the defensive line. IMO replacing Clark would be much more difficult than LT. No disrespect to Bahk. I love him.

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Coldworld's picture

August 18, 2020 at 08:14 am

The unspoken aspect of this seems to be the evaluation of Clark. The contract would seem to indicate that the team see Clark as having significantly more present and future value than Cory does.

If the team is correct in that assessment Clark should have been resigned first as a cornerstone of the team. In addition, the drop off behind Clark is likely greater than that at left tackle! While Rodgers needs defending, Clark is central to the success of the D. I think it is clear that we aren’t in an era in which Rodgers can carry a porous D even with Bakh at his best.

Thus I believe Clark was rightly signed first. Let’s hope he continues To improve—he is still young—and justifies the faith placed in him.

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dobber's picture

August 18, 2020 at 02:21 pm

"In addition, the drop off behind Clark is likely greater than that at left tackle!"

THAT is a sobering thought...

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marpag1's picture

August 18, 2020 at 10:26 am

"...But I rarely agree with you. And once again you got it wrong."

LOL. Honestly, I don't remember ever agreeing with cory. You would think it must have happened at some point in history....

Clark was, and he absolutely should have been, the higher priority than Bakh. In addition to the age difference and comparable level of excellence, DTs are just harder to find than OTs. Google 'NFL draft success rate by position' or something like that. There's tons of stuff. Of course there is some subjectivity. But virtually all of the data says O-line has about the highest success rate of any position in the draft, esp in the top 3 rounds. D-line, on the other hand, has a low success rate, relatively speaking.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 19, 2020 at 02:37 am

I generally agree about success rates for OL. Note that for OL taken in the first round, the numbers are buoyed by OGs and Centers. Generally, guards and certainly centers picked in the first round have high success rates as they often are the best OG and/or Center in that particular draft. 5 OL on average are drafted in the first round each year (1990-2015): I bet that means four OTs and one guard or sometimes 3 OTs, one OG and one OC. It is true that offensive linemen (particularly OGs and OCs) taken in the 2nd-4th rounds have nice success rates.

There is no question in my mind that the bust rate for DL in the top ten is ridiculously high, as well as in the first round in general. The percentage of OT 1st round picks who earn a Pro Bowl nod or All-Pro honors are reasonably close to first-round DL, but the bust rate is vastly different.

Here is a link to my favorite article on this subject (but it is getting old - published in 2015):

https://www.arrowheadpride.com/2015/2/20/8072877/what-the-statistics-tel...

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 19, 2020 at 02:41 am

Here's another but it focuses on the first round and top ten, well because it is done by Bleacher Report, and that's what they do. Can't get the actual link to work, so add the B and google it if you like:

leacherreport.com/articles/2441018-which-positions-are-the-safest-riskiest-at-the-top-of-the-nfl-draft

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murf7777's picture

August 18, 2020 at 07:46 am

It takes two to Tango. Maybe the Packers and Bak are far apart in terms of value. You don’t stop negotiating others because one has stalled. Their both very important to the team.

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Packers0808's picture

August 18, 2020 at 07:51 am

If finances allow my guess Bakh will be a Packer for see able future!

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Guam's picture

August 18, 2020 at 07:55 am

Not only should Bahk not have been first, I doubt he gets resigned. TGR correctly pointed out that Bahk likely will not take less than Tunsil's contract which averaged $22M per year. The Packers will be very hard pressed to sign that level of contract in a year (2021) when the salary cap will decline by about $25M ($200 million per year to $175 million). Further, they could sign two younger second contract players (Jones and King) for about the same money. Which would the Packers prefer - one aging third contract player or two younger second contract players?

I think the Packers let Bahk play out his contract and take the third round comp pick when he signs a huge contract with another team. I expect a high draft choice to be used to replace him.

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gkarl's picture

August 18, 2020 at 09:50 am

Really like Bak but I have to agree with you and TGR resigning him is going to be difficult unless there is some magic NFL cap forgiveness for 21.

I also think the FO wants to evaluate the offensive scheme in year 2 so I will be really surprised if there are any more signing before the end of TY. I'm sure FO has a plan but needs to see another year of production and what the cap brings before final decisions are made.

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13TimeChamps's picture

August 18, 2020 at 09:53 am

I highly doubt Bahk expects to get anywhere near $22M per year from the Packers, or anyone else for that matter. Tunsil got that ridiculous contract from Houston, who has one of the most dysfunctional FO and GM in the league. The next three highest paid LTs are getting 16.5, 16 and 15.5 per year. That's probably where a soon to be 30 year old Bahk would fall. I still think the Packers could get this done.

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Lare's picture

August 18, 2020 at 03:43 pm

A few random thoughts;

1. Have to think salaries might be dropping a little bit in the future if the salary cap goes down.

2. Not sure if it means anything, but the Packers have paid Bakhtiari around $40 million over the last three years. Meanwhile, Clark has gotten around $13 million over the same timeframe.

3. Also not sure if it means anything, but Bakhtiari was a vocal critic of the current CBA and was urging fellow players to vote against it. Doubt if that pleased upper management but by the same token, Rodgers was also a vocal critic of it.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 19, 2020 at 03:15 am

That's fair. Tunsil might be treated as an outlier since Houston traded two first round picks for him without having an extension agreement with him in place. They had to pay him.

I'd note that RT Lane Johnson signed for $18M AAV on November 30, 2019. His new money starts this year, age 30 season for him. Moreover, Johnson's $54M is functionally guaranteed over three years. His guarantee is just shy of $18M per year in 2020, 2021 and 2022. In other words, Johnson is going to get that money.

@Lare: Bakh making more on a 2nd contract than Clark is just the nature of the NFL. Bakh was worth $15M more than he received over the last three years. I agree that the cap situation due to Covid might deflate salaries, but so far elite players seem to be immune to that symptom.

I think it is reasonable to assume that Bakh will sign for a min. of Johnson Money ($18M AAV) and just more than Tunsil Money ($22M AAV). We will see. I guess Bakh had some sort of injury in today's practice.

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dobber's picture

August 18, 2020 at 08:27 am

If the plan is to attempt to sign both Bakh and Clark, the order seems immaterial. They'll already have budgeting contingencies for that. It seems silly to argue over who should've been first or which is the priority in that case.

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Guam's picture

August 18, 2020 at 08:44 am

How does this common sense comment get down voted?

If the plan is to only sign one, then we already have our answer as to which was more important to the Packers.

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Handsback's picture

August 18, 2020 at 08:53 am

I feel pretty certain Green Bay will try to sign Bak for 2-3 year contract. He's not had any significant lingering injuries that will hamper his performance for the near future. I believe he wants to stay in Green Bay and maybe play with Rodgers as long as possible.
Clark's contract is pretty straight forward...Bak's will not be, so there will be some manipulations to get to the number it takes to sign him.
I think the complexity of Bak's contract is why he wasn't done first.

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dobber's picture

August 18, 2020 at 08:58 am

These are some nice points, HB. I wonder if, at this stage in his career and still on the right side of 30, he'd take any less than 4 years. If his agent recommended he take any less than 4 years, he probably should be fired.

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Since'61's picture

August 18, 2020 at 09:24 am

I would like to see Bak remain with the Packers but if his price is going to be over $20 million AAV, that will be too expensive.

How the Packers handle Bak could be a view into their plans for retaining Rodgers as well. If they let Bak walk without making a competitive offer that could signal the Packers are moving on from Rodgers sooner than later, maybe even by 2021. If they seriously try to retain Bak or actually do retain him it could be a sign for Rodgers remaining in GB until 2023. This could mean Love has not developed as expected or has gone bust.

As I posted on another thread yesterday the Packers need to solidify the right of their OL. If not and they lose Bak in FA we could be exposed at LT and RT for 2021 and beyond.

Currently Bak and Jenkins are our best OLs, Linsley is solid but not spectacular. After that ??? at RG and RT. Backups are backups for a reason. We’ll see how it goes through TC. Thanks, Since ‘61

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jannes bjornson's picture

August 18, 2020 at 01:54 pm

They can sign their All-Pro left tackle or make believe they will be choosing in the top ten during the 2021 draft for a guy that will likely to NOT have played a down of college ball in 2020. Keep the Ted rules and penny pinchers out of it. Bhaktiari is a key asset and the hierarchy doesn't change: QB, LT, shutdown CB and dominant Edge rusher as essentials.

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splitpea1's picture

August 18, 2020 at 11:13 am

"Bakhtiari has proven his worth...." Of course he has; he's a great player. But so is Clark, and I'm glad he was our first priority; he's young, durable, and just coming into his prime. I just hope he gets some help either from some of the other DL currently on the team or a free agent out there. As a recent podcast pointed out, we don't want to be wearing Clark into the ground, especially early in his contract.

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Stroh's picture

August 18, 2020 at 11:40 am

I really don't see why it matters who gets signed first! The ONLY thing that matters is that BOTH of them do get signed. Pretty sure the Packers have told both that they will get done. Only way it matters who goes first is if the 2nd goes into the season and suffers a career ending injury. As usual this author fails to hit the mark on another article.

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Adorabelle's picture

August 18, 2020 at 04:36 pm

Hes under contract and then can be franchised after that I believe. So we are talking about something they can decide three years from now. The packers in general seem to shy away from a big third contract for anyone unless its Aaron Rodgers so it may be more a situation of get a few more years in and see where they are

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CoachDino's picture

August 18, 2020 at 08:03 pm

Great point - It's a business

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CoachDino's picture

August 18, 2020 at 08:02 pm

Really, Who's first? They are both going to get paid. Obviously I don't feel strongly either way. Maybe sign the guys who's younger, on the rise and it's his first non-rookie contract or Sign the Elite LT with plenty of high level miles left and protects the franchise.

It's not always the GM's decision on who signs when. The player has just as much say as well.

I have no clue as to why one was done before the other but unless the article contains explanations from those directly involved none of us do as well so why even speculate. Investigate.

IMO Bachk is on the decline, still a stud but is no longer ascending. That said - "Pay the Man his Money" (Rounders)

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