Pittsburgh Steelers safety Morgan Burnett, one of the team’s two key free agent signings last March, apparently already wants to be a free agent again.
Burnett, who signed a three year, $14.35 million contract with the Steelers last year during the first month of free agency, reportedly told Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network that he wants Pittsburgh to release him before the start of free agency as he doesn’t feel like he was used properly on defense.
According to Rapoport, Burnett has said he felt he played out of position as a dime linebacker last season and that he wants a chance to play safety again. He very well might get his wish.
Burnett is scheduled to earn a base salary of $5 million in 2019 and with Terrell Edmunds now on the scene, that might make the veteran too expensive to keep this season just the same. If the Steelers were to release Burnett prior to the start of free agency they would incur a dead money charge in 2019 of $2,833,334. If they cut him after the start of the new league year in March they could designate him a post June 1 release if they so desire. Such a move, however, would only defer $1,416,668 in dead money until 2020.
Cutting Burnett now would result in the Steelers saving $3,633,332 in 2019 salary cap space if not designated a June 1 release.
Burnett missed several games early during the 2018 regular season due to a groin injury. Upon returning from that injury he was mostly used in dime packages. He finished the 2018 season having played 389 total defensive snaps on his way to registering 30 total tackles and 6 defensed passes.
Prior to Saturday’s report from Rapoport, Burnett was already a strong candidate to be cut in the next 8 weeks.