How Much Is Burnett Worth?

The Packers are reportedly working on a long-term extension with Morgan Burnett

The Packers are reportedly working on a long-term extension with Morgan Burnett

Jason LaCanfora tweeted that the Packers are trying to hammer out a long-term contract with safety Morgan Burnett. The former Georgia Tech star is eligible for free agency in 2014. Spotrac speculated that Burnett will eventually sign a four-year deal worth $32 million, including $16.6 million in guaranteed money. Those numbers seemed awfully high at first glance, and after doing a little research, they still seem inflated.

The following are the 15 highest-paid safeties in the NFL:

Troy Polamalu (4 years/$36.5M total/$10.5M guaranteed); Eric Berry (6/$50.5/$26M); Eric Weddle (5/$41M/$19M); Dashon Goldson (5/$41M/$18.5M); Antrel Rolle (5/$37M/$15M); Michael Griffin (5/$35M/$11.5M); Jairus Byrd (1/$6.9M/$6.9M); Antoine Bethea (4/$27M/$10.6M); Tyvon Branch (4/$26.6M/$6.6M); LaRon Landry (4/$24M/$11M); Kam Chancellor (5/$29M/$8M); William Moore (5/$28M/$14M); Danieal Manning (4/$19.5M/$9M); Ed Reed (3/$14.5M/$5M) and Glover Quin (5/$23.5M/$6.2M).

OK, so where does Burnett fit in? At 24 years old, he’s the youngest of the group. He’s also among the least decorated. Every other player on this list – excluding Branch and Quin – has been to a minimum of one Pro Bowl (although to be fair, Manning went to the all-star game primarily as a kick returner in 2008).

Trying to be as objective as possible, Polamalu, Berry, Goldson, Weddle, Rolle, Byrd, Chancellor, Moore and Reed have been better than Burnett – some significantly better. Those 9 players average $7.22 million per season, with an average guarantee of $14.5 million (I excluded Byrd, who was given the franchise tag by Buffalo). Burnett doesn’t belong in that economic neighborhood – even though he’s considerably younger than some and considerably healthier than others. Griffin, Bethea, Branch, Quin, Landry and Manning average $6 million per season, with an average guarantee of $9.1 million. That’s more like it.

The guess here is that the Packers will pay Burnett based more on his potential than his production. That could translate to a contract more lucrative than I originally predicted (4/$21M/$8M), although Spotrac’s numbers still seem too high. So after spending way too much time on this subject (it’s not like I’m going to see this money), here’s my best guess: $25 million for four years, with $10 million guaranteed.

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Michael Rodney

Packer Update is the creation of a longtime fan. My name is Michael Rodney and I was a sportswriter in the 1990s. I worked full-time for a paper in Jersey but I still managed to get quite a few articles about the Packers published during that time. I hope you enjoy reading this blog as much as I enjoy writing about the most storied franchise in the NFL.

7 Comments

  1. Bryan 07/14/2013 at 3:25 pm

    Would love to see him sign a deal and THEN break out a la Jordy Nelson in 2011.

    On a semi-related note: I realize the thought of free agency sometimes motivates players to have better years. Is there any reason to be nervous that players like Shields and Raji will have excellent seasons and price themselves off the team? Would we stand a better shot at keeping this core together by striking before the final year? I’m hoping Burnett isn’t the last player we extend this year. Time will tell!

  2. Saguaro 07/15/2013 at 1:21 am

    Speculating on future production is what these contracts are all about. That and guessing how much you can lowball without provoking players to walk out or get ticked off later. Let’s hope TT speculates right.

  3. BubbaOne 07/15/2013 at 7:23 am

    AR’s new contract was added onto the 2 yrs still remaining so maybe Burnett’s contract will be similar. According to Rotoworld Burnett is due $1.323 million for 2013. If the 4 yr $32M is added onto this year his numbers would be 5 yrs $33.323M.

    AR’s previous contract as well as Jordy Nelsons’ at the time looked to be generous. Both turned out to be good value. If Burnett has the breakout yr he’s poised to have and plays at a pro bowl level 4 yrs at $32M during his prime yrs (24-28) will seem like a bargain and if it’s 5 yrs at $33.323M then TT/Ball will look like geniuses.

  4. Steve 07/15/2013 at 6:55 pm

    Just about nailed it…

    Packers S Morgan Burnett signed a 4-year extension worth $24.75M with $8.25M guarantees, per Ian Rapoport.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Michael Rodney 07/16/2013 at 12:09 am

      Yep, I thought those numbers looked familiar.

  5. Joe in Madison 07/15/2013 at 7:34 pm

    Good guess. As usual your best guess was pretty accurate.

    4 years, $24.75 mil, $8.25 mil guaranteed.

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