David Bakhtiari signing makes more sense than ever for NY Jets

Why a David Bakhtiari signing makes even more sense now

David Bakhtiari
David Bakhtiari / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Jets have been connected to rumors regarding former Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari for months. Once it became clear that the Packers would part ways with the two-time All-Pro, the Jets immediately became his most logical landing spot.

However, the Jets decided to go in a different direction last week, signing another injury-prone All-Pro left tackle, Tyron Smith, to a one-year deal. Smith has a better recent track record than Bakhtiari, seeing as he was named second-team All-Pro last season.

Some might assume that the Jets' signing of Smith takes the team out of the running for Bakhtiari. That couldn't be further from the truth, however.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported on Monday that Bakhtiari is "diligently rehabbing and is focused on returning to play this coming season." Bakhtiari plans to play in 2024, and the Jets still make plenty of sense as a landing spot.

The NY Jets should still consider signing David Bakhtiari

The addition of Smith gives the Jets increased flexibility as the team approaches the 2024 NFL Draft The Jets aren't necessarily pigeonholed into targeting an offensive tackle in the first round now.

Given Smith's injury history, however, and the team's lack of quality options behind him, the Jets should still prioritize upgrading their offensive tackle depth. That's where Bakhtiari comes into play.

Bakhtiari has appeared in one game in two of the last three seasons. He hasn't played more than 12 games since 2019 and is still rehabbing from multiple knee injuries. Expecting him to play an entire season would be foolish.

But the Jets wouldn't need him to do that. If signed, Bakhtiari would serve as high-end depth behind Smith at left tackle. Both players are injury-prone and unlikely to play a full season, but there's a much higher likelihood of the Jets getting 17 games combined between the two of them.

From Bakhtiari's perspective, there may not be many (or any) teams willing to rely on him as a full-time starter in 2024. He's also made it clear that he'd love to reunite with Aaron Rodgers, given how close the two are off the field. Rodgers is one of Bakhtiari's closest friends.

It would make sense for him to sign with the Jets, reunite with his friend, and likely still have a path to playing time. The Jets are still a very logical destination for Bakhtiari.

Perhaps this is a situation the Jets explore after the draft, however. If the Jets do end up drafting an offensive tackle in the first round, signing Bakhtiari becomes much less of a priority. Their depth would already be upgraded.

But if the Jets don't add an offensive tackle early in next month's draft, re-exploring a Bakhtiari signing makes a ton of sense for both sides. Tyron Smith absolutely doesn't take the Jets out of the running for the longtime Packers left tackle.