EDITOR'S NOTE: The Packers agreed to trade Aaron Rodgers to the Jets on Monday afternoon, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported.
Bakhtiari joined Mike Silver's "Open Mike" podcast, posted over the weekend, and reiterated that anytime a club transitions from a future Hall of Fame quarterback, it's a "rebuild." The key is how the team and quarterback handle that shift.
"We're moving on from a Hall of Fame quarterback. I literally today talked to Jordan (Love) about this," Bakhtiari said. "I'm like, 'The Packers rebuilt from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers.' What are we going to say? It's not a rebuild? Like, that is what that is. And that's totally fine. I'm not saying that we're going to be bad. I'm not saying we're going to be good. I don't know and that's the beauty. No one really knows how good they are. We start the season, everyone is batting 1.000. No one has any losses. No one has any wins. And let the season play out however it may be."
Bakhtiari noted that while expectations outside the building might not be high, that changes nothing for the players as they prepare for the season. He also noted that Green Bay went 6-10 in Rodgers' first season as the starter -- they won the Super Bowl two years later.
"Look at what a first-ballot [Hall of Famer] -- and in my opinion the best player to play quarterback, his first year what did he go, like 6-10, I want to say," he said. "There's still a transition period in that. Like, you have to build your team."
The real question isn't whether the Packers are "rebuilding" with Love under center but how much they'll slip during the transition, if at all. Some may be convinced they've given up their grip on the NFC North, but the front office certainly moves like it believes it can compete in a winnable division in 2023.
We've seen teams like last year's New York Giants make the playoffs during a transition/rebuilding year. In a relatively weak NFC, it's far too early to count out the Packers from anything.
There has been some speculation about Bakhtiari's own future with the Packers, but he noted he has no plans to retire this season.
"I think the older I've gotten, the more I've definitely thought of the idea of retiring," he said. "But I mean, right now, based on how I feel, I want to play longer definitely than I did last year. And I want to play longer definitely than I did two years ago. A big injury definitely kind of scares you, but once you kind of get out of the weeds and kind of see, I'm like, 'Oh. That felt pretty good. I still got it like the young bucks.'"
Bakhtiari remains one of the best left tackles in the NFL when healthy but he hasn't played a full slate since 2019 due to injuries. He played 11 games in 2022 after just one regular-season contest in 2021.
The 31-year-old noted that 2024 is the year his future in Green Bay will come to a head when his cap number balloons to $40.6 million.
"By the restructures that we've done collectively, the Packers and I, we've pretty much put ourselves in a predicament where it's gonna be either cutting me or extending me," he said. "That's gonna be mutually decided upon, not today, not sometime in the near future. I think it's gonna come down to, if I had to guess, as we play throughout the season, where I fit moving forward, and then also on my end where I want to be in my career and my life moving forward."
During an interview with Barstool Sports' Bussin' With The Boys podcast last month, Bakhtiari ruffled feathers by addressing the Packers' future as "they" as opposed to "we" or "us." Speaking with Silver, the left tackle clarified that by "they," he meant the front office, not that he's looking at Green Bay in the rearview mirror.
"Yeah, I think there's been a little bit of awkwardness and I think that really just stems from the lack of understanding and the fact that I have to spell it out," he said. "I guess this is the platform to do it. 'They' is the front office. I am not the front office. Like I said before, when I act rationally and I take my emotions out and look from a business standpoint, I'm thinking from a third-person point of view. So it's almost annoying the fact that I have to explain that. And that's why I know I have Twitter and my ability to use my voice. So I'm like, by responding to any of this, it creates credibility and it makes it more real. When this is just people going off on a tangent, nitpicking said words. For what?
"Again, I'm not a type of person that's gonna assassinate my sentences so you can find a cryptic message I'm trying to find. If I felt like I wanted to dissociate, I would flat out say, 'I'm gonna dissociate.' And that's pretty black and white. There's no gray area with me. So, again, if I have to spell it out even further. 'They' means the front office of the Green Bay Packers."