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Packers' Morgan Burnett Hopes to Be Embraced in Free Agency

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Packers' Morgan Burnett Hopes to Be Embraced in Free Agency

-- Players and coaches alike across the NFL spectrum all understand the business aspect of team operations. No sense of undivided loyalty to a particular franchise over several years protects even the most proven of veterans.

That's why Morgan Burnett doesn't take the value of being wanted by a team for granted.

In an appearance on SiriusXM Blitz on Tuesday, the Green Bay Packers' veteran safety told Brady Quinn and A.J. Hawk that he's excited about the events that could unfold in the coming month.

"It's kind of like coming to the draft, like, you don't know how it's going to play out," Burnett said. "You've never been in this situation before, so I'm just excited. I'm just going to sit back. I don't even know what to expect. I'm just going to take it a day at a time and just see how everything unfolds."

Burnett, 29, was drafted to Green Bay in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft and has since risen to the top of the totem pole in terms of reliability and consistency in the Packers' secondary over the years.

While change has revolved all around Burnett -- from the cornerbacks shuffling through Sam Shields, Tramon Williams and Casey Hayward to their current group or Nick Collins' neck injury in 2011, leading to the drafting of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in 2014 to play opposite Burnett -- his presence has remained the same.

The only evolution in Burnett's game has taken place closer to the line of scrimmage where he's been used as an extra inside linebacker in run support; a role in which he's thrived.

The Packers drafted physical safety Josh Jones with one of their two second-round picks in last year's draft, and throughout his rookie season, he's essentially replicated Burnett's role in the "nitro" defense as the extra linebacker, giving Burnett more flexibility to play at his natural safety spot.

The drafting of Jones, however, could have been the move that foreshadowed Burnett's eventual departure.

"When you've been in a place for so long, you put your heart and soul into something going on nine seasons, it's going to be tough if it plays out another way," Burnett said of his impending contract talks. "And then, at the same time, you're excited because it's exciting to know and a blessing to know that there are other teams that are going to pursue you and other teams that might want you That's always a good thing, to be wanted in the NFL."

According to Pro Football Focus, Burnett missed just two tackles in 500-plus defensive snaps in 2017, leading all qualifying safeties in tackling efficiency. He's missed just 62 of his 764 career tackle attempts.

Of course, with new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine in and Dom Capers out, Burnett could have significantly more value. Pettine's schemes often rely on veterans who are not only capable of relaying teachings to younger players, but capable of mastering them as well. Burnett, a versatile Swiss-Army knife that can play in various positions, fits the bill to a T.

With his estimated market value hovering near the $10 million mark, things could get a little complicated for the Packers if they choose to retain Burnett. Whether or not they do, he'll undoubtedly have value to a handful of other teams and shouldn't be on the market for long.

"It's just about being somewhere where you're wanted, really. And I feel like everything else will fall into place. If a team feels like I don't fit their scheme, I'm pretty sure they probably won't come after me. My main goal is just wanting to be somewhere where I know a team is very interested in me and I know a team is going to be just as happy with me as I am with them.

"For me, it's just all about being wanted, so whoever wants me, I'll be happy to be there."


Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (22) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

The TKstinator's picture

Nothing can beat the feeling of being embraced by the one who truly loves you.

And if that ain’t an option, a fat contract with a whole lotta bonus money is a nice consolation prize.

HankScorpio's picture

Well said, TK. I hope Burnett gets one or the other.

stockholder's picture

It's all about the money. Thank you, but we need improvement. Not cap problems. Not status Quo.

dobber's picture

The question is whether Burnett brings something they feel they need in the defense...need enough to likely pony up half of their available cap space. I'm guessing no, but we'll see what the power brokers say.

The status quo has already been kicked to the curb.

stockholder's picture

What Question.? He had his chance, or they would have never drafted Jones. He's only depth now. Wish him luck and all the money get from someone else.

Rossonero's picture

Age, salary, and injury history are not favorable to the Packers with Morgan Burnett.

While he's as good as gone, it will still be a big hole to fill for Josh Jones. Burnett is the QB of our defense. At least we should get a nice comp. pick for him.

Thanks for the memories and 8 great years, Morgan.

dobber's picture

Burnett might have been the QB of Dom's defense, but that doesn't argue strongly in his favor.

Rossonero's picture

At the same time, per PFF, he also was #1 in tackling efficiency for safeties-- a rarity considering our consistently bad tackling in the secondary.

Rossonero's picture

I also don't think it's fair to blame the defensive struggles on one guy. He played his position very well and his absence was noticeable when he went out.

There are a lot of other factors as to why our defenses have been bad: bad drafting, lack of free agent signings, bad D coordinator, etc. That have absolutely nothing to do with Morgan Burnett.

Lphill's picture

Sounds like his agent is Greg Jennings , leave for a little more money and never be heard from again , Bye Morgan.

HankScorpio's picture

Well, that's the departures on offense. Defenders that move on have fared much better.

I hope that a new defensive staff is going to end the latter part of that.

John Kirk's picture

Thanks for 8 years of AJ Hawk like impact with 7.5 sacks no TDs and 9 INTs, and for calling the D like AJ once did.

ccarey70's picture

I find it strange that folks worry about losing the "quarterback of the defense" Has anyone watched this defense the last few years??

John Kirk's picture

I'm not worried about losing him. The QB of the D remark was me doing my best trying to find anything to say about his non descript time here just like AJs. I didn't care for either player and will be thrilled when he takes his low impact elsewhere.

John Kirk's picture


4thand1's picture

It's all about being wanted. The question is who "wants" to pay the most. Any player approaching 30 is going to grab as much cash as possible, it's what they really want.

Savage57's picture

Burnett's been a good player for the Packers, but he's been a cap hog during his last contract, accounting for 5-7th place in terms of team cap allocation during that time.

Sadly, the performance never matched the pay.

TXCHEESE's picture

If GB can bring him back with a reasonable contract number, for 3 - 4 years, that would be my preference. Even if Josh Jones ends up leap frogging him, he could still provide some veteran depth. He's always been a pretty able and willing tackler, and maybe just average in coverage. I would expect the Petine's schemes could find ways to utilize him favorably. Don't blame Burnett for the lack of performance, and overall confusion of the younger members of the secondary. That's a coaching issue. Unless he was the one with the blown assignment, he can't be blamed for others being out of place. Problem is, unless he gives a home town discount, someone will over pay for him, and you can't blame him for taking the money on what is likely his last contract.

DD's picture

I know they want more money, but a salary of 7-8 million per year and they're hurting. With solid investments they are set for life. If someone gave you even one million dollars today could you make it for life? Most sensible people could. So if it comes to 10 million or more I say have a nice day elsewhere. I know their careers aren't long, but really? 7 million a year times X amount of years. Most of us will never make that kind of money in a lifetime! What the hell do players do with their money????

Lphill's picture

I believe AJ Hawk holds the record for most tackles for a Packer , I don't understand the hate toward him. He played a different linebacker position from college . He did his job tacking on blockers to free up another linebacker . But maybe some people here don't understand football .

Rebecca's picture

I'll never forget what's-his-name.

holmesmd's picture

Yes, AJ Hawk is the Packer’s ALL TIME LEASING TACKLER. That’s a fact. People “hate” on him because he was a top 10 pick, was slow for today’s game, and wasn’t flashy or as talented as Lewis & Urlacher. Fans aren’t always rational.

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