Green Bay has done a transition like this before, when it went from Brett Favre to a young Rodgers, and it certainly worked out that time. Now they are getting former first-round pick Jordan Love ready to lead the offense full time as Rodgers moves on from the Packers.
Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari was honest about where he feels the team stands now, calling the quarterback switch a "rebuild" -- a couple days before the Packers made the deal April 24.
"We're moving on from a Hall of Fame quarterback" Bakhtiari said on Mike Silver's "Open Mike" podcast. "I literally today talked to Jordan [Love] about this. 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."
"Rebuild" often gets a negative connotation, but the veteran lineman wants to clarify this is not necessarily a bad thing for the Packers. Bakhtiari is not predicting a losing season, but is rather setting expectations of a transition period.
"That's totally fine," Bakhtiari said of the Packers needing to rebuild. "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 got some heat for his comments, but stands by his original claim, saying it would not be respectful to deny a rebuild.
"How I look at is, it's disrespectful to say you're not rebuilding off a Hall of Fame quarterback," Bakhtiari said (via ESPN). "It was disrespectful to say you weren't rebuilding off of Brett Favre when you moved to Aaron. No one knew Aaron and what he was going to be, so I'm not going to sit here and like pull back those words because that is, when you look at how it's been building, how we were chasing after it and the cap -- there was a bunch of situations that can definitely allude to it -- we have a young team."
The Packers without Rodgers are a big question mark. Without the 10-time Pro Bowl QB they are being predicted as easier targets in the NFC North, a division wide open with a rebuilding Chicago Bears, an on-the-rise Detroit Lions and a Minnesota Vikings team that saw success last year, but may not see the same this season.
Bakhtiari, 31, had his own uncertainties surrounding his playing career this offseason, but said he's not planning to retire this season. Due to various injuries, he has not played a full season since 2019, playing just one game in 2021 and 11 in 2022.
Things will get more complicated in 2024 between Bakhtiari and the only NFL team he has played for. He explained his contract situation, saying the Packers will either have to cut him or give him an extension based on the restructuring the two parties have done together. For now, Bakhtiari is along for whatever this "rebuild" brings and how he and the team fare may have implications on his future in Green Bay.
"That's gonna be mutually decided upon, not today, not sometime in the near future," Bakhtiari said on whether he would get cut or get an extension. "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."
The Packers (8-9) missed the playoffs last season, and without a proven quarterback, the prediction of many is that there will be no postseason ticket punched this year either.