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Should the Packers Keep Morgan Burnett?

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Should the Packers Keep Morgan Burnett?

While former general manager Ted Thompson took care of some important free-agent business before departing to his role deep within the scouting department, there are some tough decisions that must be made by his replacement, Brian Gutekunst.

Before leaving his job, Thompson worked out long-term deals with two of the Packers most important free agents heading into 2018, Davante Adams and Corey Linsley.

Adams of course, is the top wide receiver on the team and Linsley is the starting center. Those were key guys to lock up and important deals to get done. Green Bay was able to use some leftover space from 2017 and now, with those deals in tow, the Packers have $21 million in cap space.

The questions is, how much if any will they devote to re-signing Morgan Burnett?

It might seem easy to look at Burnett as part of the problem in Green Bay, but that’s not entirely accurate. He’s not a superstar, but he’s been a good starter. He has nine career interceptions, 10 fumble recoveries, eight forced fumbles, 7.5 sacks and 46 passes defensed.

Burnett, a third-round pick in 2010 out of Georgia Tech, is also 29 years old. And he’s probably also going to command a contract that ranges from $8-10 million a year.

That might seem like a hefty price to pay, but when looking at the safety market, Burnett is probably worth it. Yes, he has had some injury issues, but after missing most of his rookie season, he has missed just 14 starts in seven seasons.

When it comes down it, the 2017 season isn’t what we expected it to be. Without Aaron Rodgers leading a top offense, the defense fell apart. Injuries played a role, but often times, Burnett found himself covering on the outside. He’s a good cover guy, but he’s not a nickel corner. Unfortunately, out of necessity, Green Bay had to use him there.

Before everything went wrong, Burnett was a bright spot. He was playing both safety and inside linebacker and his versatility was downright impressive. For years, the Packers needed a guy at inside athletic enough to cover, but tough enough to play the run and turns out, Burnett was the right man for the job.

Josh Jones was drafted to be that guy, and he could be the reason Burnett is allowed to walk. Yet, do the Packers really have to put all their eggs into the basket of a rookie who wasn’t all that impressive?

Certainly, Jones looks good on paper and he delivers a punch, but he has a way to go before he will be as good as Burnett. I get that the Packers need to upgrade, especially at edge rusher and corner, but letting the best safety on the team walk isn’t going to help either.

Maybe if Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was coming off a career year, it would easy to let Burnett walk. But that’s not the case. Hopefully, Clinton-Dix will rebound, but leaving him and Jones to be the starters in 2018, could be a disaster.

The Packers need fresh blood, no doubt. But Burnett is a darn good player and if he’s allowed to stick to what he does best, he will prove it, in Green Bay or with another team.

It wasn’t that long ago that safety was viewed as a strength of the Green Bay defense, and if Burnett is re-signed and Clinton-Dix bounces back, it could be again. So pay the man and see what Mike Pettine can do with him. At the very least, then the Packers won’t need to add the safety position to their offseason shopping list.

__________________________

Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (113) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Nick Perry's picture

Burnett is a tough call especially when you consider how HHCD and Josh Jones played this past season. If Jones had several more games like the game he played in week 3 against the Bengals the choice is easy....Let Burnett walk. But like Chris has mentioned can you really count on Jones and HHCD to be solid starters after last year?

Since the Packers will be installing an entirely different defense experience in the system won't matter one bit. IMO I don't think Burnett is worth $8 to $10 million though I'm curious to see how he'd do in a Pettine defense.

The Packers could really do a variety of things. They can obviously sign Burnett. They could let Burnett walk and sign one of the other SS like Vacarro or Reid. They could move HHCD and sign one of the FS like Joyner or Boston. I mean if the Packers are going to offer closer to the $10 million mark I'd rather they spend it on someone like Joyner myself.

This will all come down to whether the Packers believe the season long funk HHCD was in was a one year deal or a sign of things to come, and if Josh Jones can be the guy he was in week 3 on a consistent basis or not. My feelings are you let Burnett walk and spend the money somewhere else, like TE, WR, OL, or CB. You roll with Jones and HHCD and use one of the 12 draft picks you have on the safety position.

This team needs SPEED at the WR position and they need a TE. With Rodgers turning 35 the Packers NEED a speedy WR and a TE who can contribute right away. A rookie won't in most cases be able to do that consistently. Roll with who you do have at safety. Free up additional cap space renegotiating Nelson, Bulaga, and hopefully Cobb. Then make a few smart FA signings, solid draft picks, and win the damn SB!!

EdsLaces's picture

Id like to see Joyner as well, and draft that TE from Penn State in round 2 or 3!

Coldworld's picture

One of my concerns last season was the use of both safeties. I think the schemes and instructions were a major part of their play and reasons for why they didn’t get in positions to make plays. That makes it hard to value either. I have hope for Jones, but how he fits best I am still unsure of. I have a suspicion both safeties got better when Capers left.

If we were not going to keep Burnett, why on earth let Hyde go last season? I have to think retaining Burnett was the plan then.

dobber's picture

"If we were not going to keep Burnett, why on earth let Hyde go last season? I have to think retaining Burnett was the plan then."

The change in the guy making the decisions means that consistency goes out the window...

holmesmd's picture

Jones is a box safety who attacks at this early point in his career...so play him there!! HHCD is a good safety. He had to carry water for all the bench riding corners who seemed unprepared to play when their numbers were called. Burnett is the “glue” back there and is a very versatile safety. He’s also a leader in the locker room. I don’t think you get rid of a guy like that when you’re installing a whole new defense.

stockholder's picture

No to Penn state. Will have trouble staying on his feet like R. Rodgers. He's been compared to Andrew Quarless. I liked the kid from Notre Dame better. It will be an interesting Combine for TEs.

Turophile's picture

Yep, i like Fumagalli as well.

With regard to Burnett, it just isn't simply a "Keep him or lose him" scenario. It depends (as it so often does) on the price needed to secure him. At $7m, yes, at $11m, no..........so now you have to work out at what point you say "Pass".

comeonman's picture

A Badger by the name of Tauscher did quite well for the GB Packers.

zeke's picture

And don't forget Ken Stills. Wait for the whistle, count to two, and into the pile flies Kenny, helmet first. Good times.

OrganLeroy's picture

Rookie TE's can't be counted on as major contributors, so we need a starter in Free Agency, but also a 3rd round TE as well.

Tundraboy's picture

Yes! , a top priority after a Pass Rusher.

packrulz's picture

Burnett is a good tackler but was caught out of position a lot this year. In the Panthers game Greg Olsen was wide open over and over again. We need more speed on defense, I'm ready to give up on Burnett and draft someone who can cover TE's. Shaquem Griffin is too small to be an edge rusher, but I think he could be a great safety, and sneak him in on a blitz once in awhile. Lots of the experts say having one hand doesn't hinder him. 2nd round?

Fountaintown's picture

Griffin may be a good idea, but he's more of a project at safety. He won't go until later in the draft though. He still hasn't even been invited to the combine yet.

4thand1's picture

Burnett is one of the decent core players on defense. I have a feeling the Packers are going to let him test the market. Josh Jones in Capers system got lost, I think he'll rebound nicely. They are going to have to restructure some contracts or release someone. No one seems to know WTF is going on with HaHa, but I get the feeling it could turn out like the Hayward/Hyde situation. Pettine watches tape and will know who he wants and who can play. We lose guys we have only to watch them succeed elsewhere, that has to make some coaches look really bad.

Nick Perry's picture

I have a feeling you'll be right about Jones and he'll rebound nicely. Pettine will come in and TEACH these youngsters and like he's said from the start, give em as much as they can handle.

I also think HHCD can't possibly be as bad in 2018 as he was this past season. He went from a Pro-Bowl nod to whatever that was on the field in 2017.

I also think Matthews is here next season. He might be given another year or two to knock down the salary, but Pettine has a plan for Matthews already.

Bearmeat's picture

To me this is a no brainer. Yes. You let Burnett walk. You put J Jones or CM3 at Chase ILB, you let the young guys duke it out at SS, and you hope HHCD pulls his head out of his rear.

Yeah, we probably won't be as strong at SS in 18 as we were in 17. But needs don't exist in a vacuum. As NP said, we need a pass rush, outside cover skills, speed at WR and TE and possibly a RT. Considering the quality of the backups at those various positions, all the above-named needs are IMO more pressing than SS, and we certainly don't have the cap $ or the draft capital to upgrade all of them.

Burnett has been a very good player. You thank him for the years he spent in GB and you let him walk. Maybe a low-ball offer that will be beaten by another team like TT did with Lang. Unfortunately, he's just getting up there. He's been hurt a lot. So you take the 3rd round 2019 comp pick and run.

Bearmeat's picture

Exactly. OG just isn't important. Evans was almost as good as Lang for a fraction of the cost. We have the same situation here. As long as we don't have "dumpster fire" at SS, we'll be fine. NT, OLB, CB and FS. Those are the positions you NEED to be very good in a 34/zone fire defensive scheme.

dobber's picture

"If we kept Lang Rodgers still would have gotten injured by Barr and 2017 would still have been wasted."

I disagree in that everything changes on offense with Lang at RG rather than Evans. To say that every play call and the execution of the plays leading you up to that point puts you in exactly the same spot is astronomically unlikely. That's not to say that ARod wouldn't have gotten hurt at some stage in 2017 (maybe sooner, who knows?), but the likelihood that it happens at the hands of Barr in the Minnesota game is pretty low.

As for Lang, he missed 3 full games in 2017 and parts of at least 2 others. Somehow he landed in the Pro Bowl (as an alternate) on an OL that was almost as bad at protecting its QB as the Packers and was dead last in running the ball...and it wasn't even close. I haven't seen his individual grade (maybe someone has that info?), but this does little to put much stock in a Pro Bowl invite.

Bearmeat's picture

Lang got a 79.1. So almost an above average starter. And that doesn't include the games he missed. Evans got a 71.1, and only missed 1 game.

Is Lang a better player than Evans now? Yes.
Would I want that contract for a 30 year old RG with a history of back issues? (IMO the very least important position on offense other than FB). HELL NO. Give me a 34 year old Evans on a 1 year at 2.5mil over a 30 year old Lang at 9.1 AAV for 3 years!

Detroit whiffed big time with that contract. And IMO our starting 5 was fine. Even our top 6. But we had to go to literally OL #10 at a couple points last year AND Hundley sucked and wouldn't pull the trigger.

Since ARod took the reins of MMs offense, the sack numbers have almost always been high. I've attributed roughly 1/2 of those sacks every year to the QB not throwing it away or pulling the trigger faster. You can't expect OL's to block 5 seconds on a regular basis.

Tundraboy's picture

Thumbs up, Especially "you hope HHCD pulls his head out of his rear."

Coldworld's picture

Whether we keep Burnett, or seriously try to, is for me dependent on what Mike Pettine. Burnett is a versatile player who tackles well and can play deep or in the box and cover TEs. He has not been an impact player in deep coverage.

From what I have read about Pettine, Burnett might be one of the building blocks he would want to allow the flexible defense he is known for. Burnett is the one player with that profile in our secondary post Hyde.

I don’t see potential upgrades in the current roster or in FA. Safeties take time to become good. Thus if he leaves what is the plan? I don’t see it. That makes it harder for me to see us freeing cap this way than at WR.

flackcatcher's picture

Tough decisions ahead on both sides of the ball. Packers right now have no depth at either SS position. Athletes yes, professional football players no. Brice never recovered after the Bears game at home. Evans got better but neither seemed to understand the scheme or packages Capers ran. Jones played well as a rookie in the slot. But was overmatched in the backend. That alone should give the Packers pause about cutting ties with Burnett. With the new(ish) OC and DC what the roles are for players on this team is unknown, and we still don't know who makes the final call on player signings. Packers themselves are probably still working that out. I sign him, but with the upcoming free agent market it will be expensive, and the Packers will have to over pay either way. Glad I'm not GM for this team.

dobber's picture

Remember how deep we all thought the safety position was for the Packers in August? Seems like a long time ago, now...

lou's picture

You are right Dobber, it looked like we had 2 good starters and good young depth at safety. Look what happened;

1. ACL for Brice.
2. HaHa became M.D. Jennings
3. Burnett missed several games and parts of others.
4. Jones was a fearless tackler but lacked awareness in the passing game and may be better suited as a LB.
5. Lack of a consistent pass rush and the inability of both inside backers who were tazmanian devil tacklers to cover TE's or backs out of the backfield in the screen game made the back end safety position a nightmare.
6. Possible coaching issues as well with Perry (hard to believe they want to retain him).

4thand1's picture

Never say M. D. Jennings again.

dobber's picture

Who?

Nick Perry's picture

6. Possible coaching issues as well with Perry (hard to believe they want to retain him).

Lou... I never heard Perry was having issues with the coaching staff. Is this something new, like since yesterday or one of the things I may have ignored as the disappointing season of 2017 rolled on??

lou's picture

My point with coaching issues was how often the safeties would look at each other after being beaten by a big play as to say "what were you doing" ? That would point to coaching and Perry was the safety coach. The only other issue is Perry's multiple DUI's, both in Green Bay and Pittsburgh, Sherm Lewis was the last Packer coach with those issues Nick.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Hell, Lou, they thought about promoting him, and kept the door open for him to return.

lou's picture

They did the same thing with Dom Capers for 6 years long.

lou's picture

6 years "too" long.

cuervo's picture

Keep him for 5 or 6 mio/year...maybe. 10+ mio/year, absolutely no way. We already have 4 overpaid vets on the roster, you cannot add a 5th and expect to do anything in free agency.

Handsback's picture

Unfortunately, you let him search for his market value and if he leaves say good-bye. He's been a very good player, but not a difference maker. Saying that....makes me wonder if it's the player or the defense

stockholder's picture

With a new DC now. No! They should not give him 40 mil plus dollars. Even 10mil. He's getting slow. He's not a game changer. And we need INTS. Burnett is not going to give you those. He's played average. Been Hurt. And should have been an All-pro for the money you want to pay him. We had to draft Jones. And we still need better. I would have said yes if Capers was still here. But things are changing in Green Bay. Out with the old and in with the new. I believe someone else thats on the roster can take his place. If they draft a DB someone will take Burnetts place. Bearmeat is correct. Thank him.

nostradanus's picture

Burnett is a good team guy, a good player in general.
On the flip side at 29 and with a bunch of nagging injuries the past few years and a 3rd contract year.
Say buh buy Burnett, time for Dix, Evans, White, Brice and Jones to step it up. I also expect Rollins to move to Safety and one will arrive in the draft I'm sure.
Thanks Morgan, but time and the salary cap are not your friend if you want to finish your career in Green Bay.
Test the waters out there and if you want to come back at a team friendly deal I'm sure Gute will listen.

Lphill's picture

I think the Packers only keep him if the price is right , also what happened to Brice? Isn't he returning from injury?

PackEyedOptimist's picture

I think Burnett was one of the BRIGHT spots on this year's secondary. HHCD, on the other hand, absolutely disappeared in most of the games. While Burnett had a tough time with Graham, so does everyone else; compared to five years ago, our defense of TEs was much better this year. I'd love to see Josh Jones step up, but boy, he has a long way to go, based on his constantly-out-of-position rookie year. I still have some hopes for Brice and Evans, and Pipkins could easily be moved to safety as well. It is in Pettine's hands: who does he think fits his system?

OrganLeroy's picture

why in the world would you want to move Pipkins to Safety, he's a natural at corner, unless your blind, it's pretty obvious we need more talent and depth at Safety. Brice and Evans are still ? as to their overall ability, all Brice has shown so far is that he hits hard, big deal, can he cover anyone yet?

nigrivasilayesrej's picture

No, unless you want to overpay another JAG on DEF (Clay & Perry). Move JJ to Chase LB, draft Derwin James in Rd1 as a true game-changer at SS.

CAG123's picture

They need an EDGE rusher so it would be silly to draft a SS

Dzehren's picture

We need game changers all over the roster. We never replaced nick Collins effectively either.

Oppy's picture

You'd be lucky to "replace" a talent like Collins inside of a 10 - 15 year time span.

Nick Collins replacements don't grow on trees.

Unique talent at safety. There's maybe two or three safeties in the last twenty years who had Collins' range.

nigrivasilayesrej's picture

Yeah, let's draft for need instead of BPA. That's worked out so well for Ted the last several years... Unless Chubb somehow falls & we can trade up to ger him, there aren't any pass rushers worthy of pick #14.

CAG123's picture

Chubb hasn’t even graded out as the best EDGE rusher, after the senior bowl he’s like in 40 something so he’s far from the BPA.

comeonman's picture

A lot of mocks have Key going to GB at 14, he had a down 2017, but if the kid has his head on straight, he could be a holy terror at EDGE. I think EDGE rusher is the NO 1 need for the GB Packers.

holmesmd's picture

This guy should be there and he lit up the Senior Bowl.

https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/news/2018-nfl-draft-utsa-pass-rusher...

holmesmd's picture

Marcus Davenport

worztik's picture

We should draft Josh Jackson and offer Morgan a contract around 5-6 mil and if he balks... he’s gone!!!

Dzehren's picture

Doesn’t Pettine deploy a single high safety? Don’t we need a Earl Thomas type player? Not a slow 30 year old for 8M annually

Or HAHA ,Josh Jones , Brice& a draft pick would work?

Dontworrygopackers's picture

burnett is solid but nobody in nfl is paying this guy $8million. keep him for 5 or let him walk. we would have to trade up for james, he will be top ten after combine. that cb hughes for ucf has caught my eye he looks really good, but not against the best competition. if that hurst from michigan is still around day two i would move up to snatch him to pair with daniels and clark those three would eat up 5 blockers on every play. key would be of the board with thompson, wonder if gutey would go their in round 1? ted would drool over davenport. steal of the draft alert: allen lazard, iowa st. wr round 4

OrganLeroy's picture

A bigger steal and much faster and explosive WR is Daurice Fountain from N. Iowa and a 4th rounder! Lazard is talented but SLOW!!!

Finwiz's picture

SIMPLE.......

NO!

(Don't have to write a 500 word run-on paragraph either)

Tundraboy's picture

Brevity is the soul of wit.

John Kirk's picture

No mention in the article of Kentrell Brice, Marwin Evans, or Whitehead?

I can't believe Morgan would cash in big in FA. This is a cap question. Unfortunately, with our weird new co equal structure Russ Ball will loom heavily in decisions like these. I can't imagine he is going to be big on handing Burnett big money which I think is 8 mil, or more.

Also, I think it's questionable Ted had anything to do with the extensions for Adams and Linsley...or even all the FA additions this past offseason. I think that was Ball's influence. He didn't want to pay guys like Lang, so they were replaced for a lot less. I don't expect that to change this offseason. Burnett isn't back unless it's for a very reasonable deal for the org. The days of overpaying our own just because they're our own should be over.

OrganLeroy's picture

Brice, Evans & Whitehead are all UDFA's. They all need a lot of work and development and can't be counted on at this point.

Coldworld's picture

If they ever do. Brice was awful in coverage this season. Evans, who looked to have some upside in pre-season vanished and Whitehead is currently a back of the roster type.

The best safety not named HHCD or Burnett might just be Rollins. Safeties rarely play effectively as rookies. Lose or let go Burnett and we’d better be sure we have a decent FA option.

Jones is maybe never be a traditional safety at all and is not ready to cover at this point.

John Kirk's picture

I don't think we have a single safety whose main attribute is coverage ability. Brice, as you noted, hasn't been great there and Josh Jones appears to be much like Brice. Guided missiles suited for in the box not roaming the back end. Perhaps, one, or both, prove to be reliable coverage options but the early returns aren't overly positive. One scout loved Brice's measurables but didn't think he had the range. I liked Brice for the Josh Jones role they had set for him last season.

John Kirk's picture

Brice will be going into his 3rd year. He's been incredibly unreliable from a health standpoint but it's because he plays like a maniac which is good save for his personal health.

Packers were very high on Brice. His speed is incredible. Haven't had speed like his since Nick Collins days and Josh Jones is just as fast or faster. Morgan is a 4.5 guy and probably a lot slower at a banged up 29. Unfortunately, Brice had one of the worst 3 cones I've ever seen for a safety. Not sure what happened there...it was unusually slow. Intelligence is one of Brice's strong suits. He, along with Josh Jones, really fits Pettine's desire to be aggressive. Brice and Jones love to run and hit. Both have the speed and strength. It's interesting the strength, speed and jumping ability of Brice and Jones are nearly identical.

What we need is intelligence back there. Obviously, you need more than just that but that's been an issue for this D. It just doesn't look like or perform like a smart unit and it hasn't for years. Morgan is not the solution to this issue. Brice might be but he's not shown reliability to stay on the field. A cheap intelligent vet would be a welcome addition to a crop of young guys.

dobber's picture

I think this sums it up well.

croatpackfan's picture

I think, price will dictate the decision...

CAG123's picture

If Burnett wants to return on a reasonable salary say 6-8 mil then yes bring him back but if he feels like he’s a 10 million dollar a year safety then let him walk. His numbers just don’t justify that kind of money he’s been a solid player but he hasn’t had that Kam Chancellor or Eric Berry kind of impact and him playing multiple positions is more of a scheme thing than him actually being that good. He’s no Charles Woodson.

OrganLeroy's picture

I think we need him back but, $6-8 mil. should be the max.

dobber's picture

I think they almost HAVE to let Burnett hit the market. To sign him ahead of free agency means they'll have to deal with what Burnett and his agent think they'll get when the bidding sets in...which will likely be far higher than the Packers can afford and still shore up other needs. Signing or extending a guy ahead of FA means you're buying out his ability to test his worth...sometimes you "win" (Bakhtiari) and sometimes you don't (I would argue Adams). I suspect they wouldn't win on Burnett, but who knows?

CAG123's picture

I agree let him test his worth out there and if he wants to comeback then let him. Isn’t it safe to say that he’s been the safety version of AJ Hawk? Not going to hurt ya but not a difference maker either. Just a solid guy that can make a play here or there.

dobber's picture

People beat on Hawk, but the key issue on him was his draft position if you ask me. If he'd have been a 3rd rounder like Burnett, I think people would be far happier with how he turned out. As it happens, I think Burnett has been a good pro, but--I agree--not a 'game changer'.

John Kirk's picture

I agree with you on Hawk.

The fact he was a 5th overall was a huge reason I couldn't stand him. For me, had he been a 3rd rounder I would've thought differently, but not all that much. Had he been a 5th, I'd have thought he was great value but still not what we needed and in need of an upgrade. It matters we didn't get the kind of value from the 5th overall but it mattered more that we didn't have a great player. When Dallas gets Zeke at 4 and you see his impact, that is what you expect out of a pick that high. Dallas got great value from the 4 spot and have no reason to try and upgrade Zeke. We got terrible value and needed to upgrade AJ almost right out of the gates. Sadly, that draft didn't have much at the top.

We traded up for Burnett and it was reported the Bears coveted him, so, it appeared we scooped them. He's been okay. We do just seem to have so many "decent" players, which is fine, IF you have a few difference makers sprinkled in but we don't..or great coaching. We get into this vicious cycle of overpaying for mediocrity for fear we'll be less than mediocre should mediocrity depart. It's time to not accept that as a way of doing things anymore.

This has been a question of what do we pay him even to me, but maybe it should be more of a "don't we really need better" more than it is an issue of money?

I can also buy the idea that Pettine may be able to make Morgan and everyone look better. It's a huge transition year for the organization on many levels from O to D to FO and keeping some of these decent players in hopes Pettine's D makes them better has merit.

Has to be incredibly tough on a new GM trying to decipher all of the different ways to view this. He needs some grace in this first year as you have to believe he's going to make some mistakes sorting this all out.

comeonman's picture

Makes a person wonder how much of it is the players, and how much of it was D Capor's ancient defense. If a bunch of these guys really play well next year, we will know the answer

John Kirk's picture

Agreed. The bell will toll soon on that question.

worztik's picture

That lost on Cobb if ya remember...

dobber's picture

Yeah, I wasn't going to beat on Cobb...poor guy's taken enough of a beating 'round here the way it is.

nigrivasilayesrej's picture

Burnett is not worth 8mil/year; he's a JAG. Too many years of having guys like Peprah, McMillian, & Banjo set the bar so damn low.

comeonman's picture

I think 6 million is all GB should pay, and anything over that must be earned, like amount of games played, Int's, tackles etc.

Qoojo's picture

As far as I am concerned, it depends on whether Pettine needs him or not. From what I hear, a key part of his defense is a smart safety, and Burnett fits that. I don't really see anyone currently on the packers filling that defensive leader position like Burnett.

4thand1's picture

What will Russ Ball's role in all of this? Is he going to play cheap ball like Ted. They already gave Adams and Lindsley nice contracts, where do we go from here, there's only so much money to go around. Do they all report to Murphy and get his approval?

John Kirk's picture

Russ Ball and Mark Murphy concern me a great deal. Yes, Ball, Gutekunst, and McCarthy all report to Murphy. The structure seems to me to be a compromise for not giving the GM gig to Russ due to MM and 12's along with public backlash. I really believe Murphy was set to give the job to Ball and then saw the reaction and caved naming Brian, instead, after he got on the plane to Houston. I think Murphy wanted Russ supported by Brian who was the personnel guy and when his personnel guy was on a plane to Houston had to reconsider as Eliot had one foot out the door.

So, we have co equal guys all reporting to Murphy. Initially, GM was to have power to hire and fire, now he reports to Murphy. Murphy did say Brian had final say over the roster but with McCarthy and Ball both having access to Murphy who do you think really has final say? The CEO will influence everything now and if it's true Russ is Murphy's right hand man, he appears to have much more power than titles would lead you to believe. Murphy and Ball are money guys and tight per reports. If Ball thinks what Brian is trying to do is wrong, what do you think he's going to do? Listen to Brian and dole out the money or run to Murphy and tell him Brian's out of his mind?

It's going to be very interesting to see how this arrangement works or doesn't work here real soon. Money dictates power and Ball and Murphy are the money guys and Russ has an open door to Mark. Money is going to trump Brian and MM every single time in my belief.

flackcatcher's picture

And Murphy has made the executive committee a major player. While Murphy is president, the final say rest with the 45 and the 7 who oversee Murphy day to day. For over 20 years the committee has stayed away from front office and football related matters. And Murphy blows all that up in three days. If the stories coming from 1265 are true, then no one on the committee knew that Russ Ball was Murphy's choice all along. Most important decision as Packer president and he FUBARs it all up. How he cleans this up will determine if Murphy will have a future in professional football beyond the Packers.

dobber's picture

Let it play out. We have only a couple weeks of speculation and NO data, yet. These might be the right people to make it go. It seems that we're all looking for fire when we're not sure if there's any smoke, yet.

Tundraboy's picture

Exactly. We'll see soon enough, if collectively, they have the team's best interest in mind. That's all I want to see. Smart moves and improvements.

comeonman's picture

Russ Ball has got to make the money work for the players that BG wants to sign. He really has no say in which players GB goes after, that is 100% BG's call.

John Kirk's picture

In theory, this is correct. In reality, I don't think it's that clear. ALL of them have an open door to Mark Murphy. ALL report to Mark. Politics comes into play just like in every workplace, forum, etc. To be clear, yes, Russ has no say in who Brian goes after, but he has all kinds of say as to how much we pay and that determines who is here and who isn't quite often. Money talks. If Brian wants Burnett back at 10 million, Russ won't be saying no to Burnett, he'll be saying no to 10 million. There's semantics involved but there is a difference.

Who is the guy reported to spend the most time with Mark Murphy? Russ Ball. It naturally follows that Ball has the most sway with Murphy due to the time spent together. Mike McCarthy recently said he's spoken to Murphy more times in the last 3 weeks than in the other 12 years. I have no idea how much or little Brian interacted with Murphy but it's not hard to imagine it wasn't much, if at all.

Russ is the money man. Murphy is a money man. If Russ thinks Brian is trying to offer too much to someone what do you think he's going to do? Just do what Brian says to do? In theory, the chain of command would dictate that is how it should work. I've been in heavily regimented chain of command environments and it rarely works that way. If Russ feels Brian is offering Morgan too much, what do you think he's going to do? He has an open door to Mark who outranks everyone and even though he said Brian had final say over the roster as in who is kept and who is cut he never said Brian has carte blanche to spend what he wants. If he did, please point that out to me. So, if Russ objects to what Brian wants to pay he's going to Murphy. Who do you think the money man is going to side with? The other money guy or the neophyte GM?

Don't forget Brian initially believed he had the power to hire and fire the HC and that was taken away at the last second before he accepted. Murphy created a weak GM before he ever accepted the job and Brian did accept...as a weak GM. Money rules things as much as I hate that but money people flock together. Murphy may surprise and tell Brian over Russ' objections to do the contract but is not guaranteed to happen Brian's way every single time.

comeonman's picture

Very interesting take on it. Maybe the best thing is too not worry about it too much, because it may work out great. If not maybe they tweak it down the road...
But hopefully it works out great. I just know I am really excited to have a GM who will not hide under a rock for the most part during FA signing period.

zeke's picture

"Don't forget Brian initially believed he had the power to hire and fire the HC and that was taken away at the last second before he accepted."

I had not seen this. Was it reported somewhere?

flackcatcher's picture

At Murphy's presser Jason Wilde ask about the GM and Murphy said the new GM would have final say on roster and hiring. Next day when pressed he left out the hiring part. That set off a fire storm which Murphy then announced the three headed beast at an stand up two days later. After Murphy made the radio talk show circuit, Bob Harlan makes the same swing expressing grave displeasure at the new front office set up. Harlan never speaks after he retired as Packer President on front office matters, so this was a shocker. I believe the executive committee was using Harlan to send Murphy a message, that they were extremely unhappy with this turn of events. This was the most important decision on Murphy's watch, and he blew it.

John Kirk's picture

I had not heard nor read anything about Harlan panning Murphy. I'd love to see that. I just googled around and found nothing.

If you have anywhere I could go to find that, let me know...love to read or listen to it.

John Kirk's picture

Yes. I believe it was a Pete Dougherty column. Pete, outside of the polarizing Bob McGinn, had the best piece on what really went down with Ted and the GM hire by Murphy.

The report was that Brian when interviewing believed he was interviewing for a job that gave him the power to hire and fire. When he was offered the job while in Houston, those terms were changed and he was no longer to have that power. Brian accepted anyway. Murphy cut his legs out before he ever accepted the job. I think that speaks poorly to both Murphy and Gutekunst. Ron Wolf said he would've never interviewed in Green Bay had he been given the conditions Brian was given to take the job meaning not having the power to hire and fire the HC. Ron was an NFL veteran FO guy at the point he came here. Murphy used Brian's desire to be a GM against him by changing terms believing Brian would jump at the chance even when stripped of power. Pathetic on Murphy's part, and pathetic on Brian's part even though Brian's part is understandable.

There is always a possibility this "works out" but I would have to think looking at it from afar that the odds are heavily against this working out smoothly or well.

Mark Murphy took a major hit for his underwhelming and erratic performances at his press conferences. PFF would grade him dead last if they graded "owners" which Murphy now actually operates as.

It's a major deal when your top guy is a schmuck. Ask Browns fans how they feel about Jimmy Haslam. We can still win in spite of Mark Murphy but we will never ever win because of Mark Murphy.

flackcatcher's picture

Murphy made the swing on most of the major Milwaukee market stations wtmj (flagship for the packers network) wssp and espn. The madison sports stations, one the big 920 is in both the Milwaukee and Madison markets. Then Bob Harlan shows up on the very same markets a week later and in typical Bob Harlan style stomps(very politely of course) all over Murphy. Most fans don't want to hear this. (I'm one of them) But Harlan dropped a very large bombshell that week. You would have to be deaf not to hear it.

Tundraboy's picture

No doubt it appears a bit half assed. Let's hope BG does a great job fixing the roster. MM is on the hot seat and this year will take care of whether he stays or goes.

Point Packer's picture

GB will probably let him walk only to watch him go the pro bowl year after year after year. A la Hayward and likely Hyde. I was not a fan of letting Hyde walk. And if he was still in GB, the Pack would have a younger better Burnett waiting in the wings. Alas, TT screwed up again.

comeonman's picture

Ya and Hyde got what 3 .5 mil ? Hyde and Hayward should still be on this team. I like the idea of bringing back Tramon Williams for depth at CB. He had a good year in AZ last year, and would be a good one year depth player.
TW is also a big fan of Petine from playing for him in CLE

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Hyde got $10M year one, $15M over 2 years, and $21M over the first three years. $6M AAV if he lasts the full 5 years.

comeonman's picture

Wow, had no idea he got that much, hard to match that kind of money with so many other needs.

croatpackfan's picture

"had no idea he got that much"

Still have balls to spit on decison maker who let hi, go... It tells nothing about decision maker, but tells a lot about you!

Coldworld's picture

Right now that deal looks like good value to his current employers I bet.

CAG123's picture

Why do y’all keep saying that? The difference between Hyde, Hayward, and Burnett is with the first two we saw flashes of that upside Hayward was a ball hawk and Hyde was a playmaker. At no point in Burnett’s career have we seen that, he’s been exactly what he is since day one a solid player. That’s not going to change with a 29 year old safety with nagging injuries switching to a new team. Whoever signs him will be getting a veteran player that can adapt to a new system and won’t hurt you with boneheaded plays and penalties.

Point Packer's picture

I’d love to hear the counterpunch from whatever moron “thumbs downed” that comment. Hyde was a cheap replacement for Burnett. And now he’s costing the Bills half as much as Burnett will want and just played in his first pro bowl. Classic Ted Thompson. Let the good ones go and then sign idiots like Martellus Bennett.

CAG123's picture

Let’s not act like we knew how the Marty signing would go, at the time it seemed great and everyone was on board that’s the risk of any FA signing

Point Packer's picture

I wasn’t on board. I was on the sign Cook train. Bennett has been nothing but mediocre his entire career. Why anyone would think he would be anything but that is beyond me. Look at the stats. He’s a second string TE.

CAG123's picture

Come on now cut it out. No way you looked at JC and MB numbers and said “Wow JC is waaaay better”! Their numbers are virtually identical
MB-4573 yards and 30 TDs
JC-4568 yards and 19 TDs
With MB offering more in pass protection let’s face it MB is a more well rounded TE it just didn’t work out with the Packers. So looking at the numbers if MB is a second stringer then so is JC.

dobber's picture

Most of us got snookered on Bennett, though. Yes, his production (after he left Dallas and New York) is good for a TE. 50-catch seasons from TEs are good seasons...90-catch seasons are awesome. Many were snowed by his college test numbers, but his career numbers showed that he wasn't the field-stretching TE that many wanted him to be. Cook has had two 50-catch seasons, but never more than 52. He was showing good chemistry with #12 at the end of the season, but was that only because the Packers were so bereft of pass-cachers? Bennett was coming off one of his better seasons as a pro where he was really only the starting TE for a little over half the season.

The Packers rolled the dice that Bennett (we should always be wary of a player the media calls "mercurial"--it's the kind way of calling a guy erratic or a head case) wouldn't blow up. Oops. I don't think football is that important to him anymore, and he got his ring. Can you adequately gauge that in an interview, especially for a guy as unique as he is? People point to TT and the buck ultimately stops with him, but who was the director of pro scouting?...was he pulling for MB?...and whose head office is he in now?

comeonman's picture

Burnett is a bit of a tough call, but I would let him test FA, he is just not a 10 million dollar safety. I believe HHCD and especially Josh Jones are going to thrive in M Petine's more aggressive defense. BG should sign a mid level veteran Safety for depth and for veteran experience. If GB moves on from Cobb as well, Between Cobb and Burnett that's about $ 20 million that could be spent on a FA TE, and or CB . Go Pack Go

Tundraboy's picture

I like your thinking. $20 million!

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I don't think Burnett in the Nitro was a raging success. He got washed out on runs badly when he played ILB. He did help us improve against TEs. So, a trade off.

I know PFF gave Burnett high grades in 2016, not sure what they gave him for 2017. I never thought Burnett was better than solid.

I can't see giving Burnett $10M AAV or a bunch of guaranteed money.
money.

CAG123's picture

Thank you! I’m glad you said it having a safety play LB and taking on O-linemen is going to result in that a lot also more injuries we need to stop doing that I don’t want to see JJ as a LB either. This draft is loaded with sideline to sideline LB built to take on linemen and get to the ball carrier. Most of these guys except that guy out of Georgia are 6’4 and 240 plus the Packers need to snag them one.

Coldworld's picture

I am hoping that that scheme, which was part of the problem was ripped out of the playbook when they started to build the new one. Therefore judging players based upon it and their fit in relation to it seems completely pointless and likely to be misleading.

Finwiz's picture

Getting washed out in the run game, as a 220 pound linebacker was TOTALLY predictable. Not to mention the injuries from getting pounded.
Totally foreseeable, as I predicted.
It was a risky, Capers scheme to inject some speed and cover ability in his lineup, to cover up for deficiencies at corner and LB. He grasped at a straw to save his job, and lost.

Tundraboy's picture

As presently constituted I would not even think about letting Burnett go which is quite a dilemma. We're just not deep enough to let him go without getting some other additions to the roster to offset it in case Jones is not ready and Dix doesn't show up again.

Glad we have Gute and Pettine. If it was the old crew, I would be dreading another year of counting on 2nd year jumps and minimal games lost to injury. I also doubt Pettine will put up with Dix if his effort is lacking.

Charlu19's picture

After seeing House, Hayward, Hyde, and to a lesser extent Tramon, maybe it's time to see that TT was actually drafting talent since they all seemed to flourish elsewhere after leaving. I would hang on to Burnett and front-load the contract and see if it was actually the coaching that seemed to believe in defensive mantras rather than players. Keep your DQB and see if Pettine is the guy we think he is.

Donster's picture

Let Burnett test the market. Good chance he won't get the $10 million that he is expected to get. Pettine might really want him back. But the dollars isn't in his favor.

I worry when I read recent articles that Gutekunst is going to rely heavily on Thompson's talent evaluations. If that is the case, then we might not have gained much at all in moving TT out of the GM position. Could be "same car, just got a new paint job". Hopefully Gute will be able to make the draft decisions completely, along with strong input from Pettine and McPuffy. And Murphy and Ball stay the hell out of it. And the big hurdle that Gutekunst faces is with signing FA's. If he gets overruled by Murphy and or Ball, then we are back to the same old crap, different GM. That is why I really wanted to get rid of TT, Ball and Murphy. TT is still going to have way to much influence. You have to flush the toilet to get rid of the crap. And the Packers only did a partial flush, and the big turds didn't make it out of the bowl.

dobber's picture

"I worry when I read recent articles that Gutekunst is going to rely heavily on Thompson's talent evaluations."

TT has a good track record evaluating some positions even up to last spring's sample. You can give two intelligent people the same pile of data and they can still make radically different choices for wildly different reasons. How many people out there still smoke cigarettes?

"And the big hurdle that Gutekunst faces is with signing FA's. If he gets overruled by Murphy and or Ball, then we are back to the same old crap, different GM."

I think the current system lends to transparency somewhat. These guys are all presser savvy...what they hint toward can tell you something about what's going on behind the scenes. My suspicion is that there's significant pressure on Ball to make this situation work if he ever wants his own GM gig. If he's going to be unnecessarily obstructionist, he's shooting himself in the foot.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

So, you're saying that TT was just addicted to drafting guys from the PAC 10?

teresinski6's picture

the Packers have to realize that the team is bigger than AR, when they get to that point they will be successful again. MM isn't the QB guru he is supposed to be, Hundley isn't answer.

teresinski6's picture

Does anyone remember when MM said the Bears suck, well now I guess he can eat his words, the Packers suck.

Johnblood27's picture

azz-hat.

The Bares STILL suck and always will.

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