Packers give four-year extension to LT David Bakhtiari

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Less than two weeks after cutting Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton, the Green Bay Packers made a long-term investment in a different offensive lineman -- left tackle David Bakhtiari.

The fourth-year pro confirmed in a text message to ESPN on Tuesday that his four-year contract extension is done. The NFL Network first reported that the deal is worth up to $51.67 million, which would put Bakhtiari among the top-five highest paid offensive tackles in the NFL.

Bakhtiari, 24, was a fourth-round pick in 2013. He became an immediate starter as a rookie after Bryan Bulaga sustained a knee injury that summer in training camp and never gave the job back, forcing the Packers to move Bulaga back to right tackle.

Bakhtiari started 46 regular-season straight games until an ankle injury knocked him out for the final two weeks of the regular season last year plus the first playoff game. The Packers tried three different starters in three weeks at left tackle before Bakhtiari returned for the NFC divisional playoff game at Arizona.

The Packers targeted Bakhtiari as one of their must-sign free agents shortly after last season. Last month, the team told both Sitton and fellow starting guard T.J. Lang -- both of whom were impending free agents -- that they would not engage in contract talks with them during the season because they planned to focus on re-signing some of their younger players.

Three of the Packers' five opening-day starters on the offensive line were in the final year of their contracts. In addition to Lang and Bakhtiari, center JC Tretter also would be a free agent after the season if no new deal is reached.

After cutting Sitton, the Packers had more than $16 million in salary-cap space. They have more potential contract extensions to consider. Running back Eddie Lacy, tight end Jared Cook and defensive back Micah Hyde also are in the final year of their deals.