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Morgan Burnett signs four-year, $24.75 million extension

The Green Bay Packers have re-signed safety Morgan Burnett to a four-year deal worth $24 million.

The Green Bay Packers have re-signed safety Morgan Burnett to a four-year deal worth $24.75 million.

After months of speculation that he might be on the verge of hitting pay dirt, Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett signed a four-year contract extension reportedly worth $24.75 million.

It’s quite the step up in pay for the young defensive back, who was only slated to make $1.3 million in 2013. He was one of only two defensive players in the NFL to play every snap last season.

Up and down

Morgan Burnett was taken by the Packers in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft. The Georgia Tech standout caught the eye of scouts with his excellent speed (he ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day) and ballhawking instincts. Packers general manager Ted Thompson traded up for the privilege of selecting him.

Burnett’s skills were immediately on display when in only the second game of his rookie campaign, he hauled in his first career interception. His season was cut short just weeks later by a knee injury.

In his second season, he flashed moments of brilliance — finishing with 107 tackles, one sack, 11 passes defensed, three interceptions, and two fumbles forced.

However, his inexperience and immaturity also reared their heads at inopportune moments. In particular, Burnett had a frustrating tendency to rely too heavily on his raw speed, sometimes gambling on his speed to compensate for the poor angles he took and questionable decisions he made. Too frequently his sloppy technique cost him, and he was left scrambling to catch up with a ball carrier blazing past him toward the end zone.

Last year he seemed to blossom, justifying the confidence Thompson had placed in him. It was apparent that he had spent time honing his craft in the offseason. He focused more on playing fundamentally sound football than relying on talent alone. He cut down on the mistakes and proved himself to be one of the most rugged and durable defensive players on the Green Bay roster.

In 16 starts, he tallied 123 tackles, two sacks, five passes defensed (including three in one game against the Minnesota Vikings), two interceptions, and two forced fumbles.

Paying up

As talented as Morgan Burnett undeniably is, $6.2 million a year does seem like somewhat of a steep price to play for a young player arguably still coming into his own.

Moreover, it’s not clear what effect this signing will have on the contract negotiations of other high-priced Packers players like defensive tackle B.J. Raji. The most obvious possible cap casualty could be cornerback Sam Shields, whom the Packers have made no serious move to sign to a long-term deal.

On the bright side, only about $8.25 million of the deal is guaranteed, an entirely manageable hit in the current league landscape. If Burnett takes a significant step back, Green Bay can walk away without too severe a penalty.

Most importantly, Green Bay locks down a promising young player they have developed and brought up through the ranks, and they can hold on to him through the prime of his career. For a defense that has been decimated by injury in recent years, the importance of continuity cannot be overstated.

1607 comments
0125
0125 moderator

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Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused

You know, mods, there is a terrific Bozo button for horse-related posts

Gruntled ®eggie
Gruntled ®eggie moderator

Looks like this Zimmerman trial DID have some backlash!


We lost Prep!

0125
0125 moderator

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LKP
LKP

Have the cap numbers come out yet for the Burnett deal

MIBearFan
MIBearFan moderator

Is it worth my effort to go back and see when Prep left?

natesweet
natesweet moderator

@Preparation_Raji Hey man, Prep is not gone completely. Just staying away from commenting. He still wants to do statistical shit for the site and do the radio show. He just does not want to hulk out on the comments section any more.

0125
0125 moderator

@natesweet I assume you have spoken to him? Tell him I send my love!