Aaron Rodgers will be without his stalwart blind-side protector to open the 2021 campaign.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Green Bay Packers are keeping All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) on the PUP list into the season, per a source informed of the situation.
The decision knocks one of the best left tackles in the NFL out for at least the first six weeks of the season. Green Bay opens the season against New Orleans, Detroit, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Chicago.
Bakhtiari tore his ACL during practice on Dec. 31, knocking him out of the Packers' postseason run. While there'd been optimism in the spring that the LT could be ready for the season, Tuesday's sobering news confirms he still needs time before being fully recovered from the late-season injury.
It's a massive blow to the reigning NFC North champs, but the Packers are playing it safe with the five-time All-Pro tackle as opposed to rushing him back.
The one glimmer of hope for the Packers is that Elgton Jenkins, who earned Pro Bowl honors as a guard last year, has looked good at left tackle in place of Bakhtiari this offseason. He'll now be tasked with blocking Rodgers' blind-side to open the season. Jenkins' promising play at LT likely factored into Green Bay's decision to keep Bakhtiari on the PUP list.
The hope is that the extra rehab time for Bakhtiari will allow the starting LT to fully heal and come back strong for a Packers' postseason run.