The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will the Steelers be able to get anything in a trade for Morgan Burnett?
In what was pretty much a long-anticipated bit of news, multiple outlets reported that the Steelers intend to release safety Morgan Burnett following the completion of one year of a three-year deal that he signed in 2018. The two parties seem to mutually agree that this is in the best interests of everybody involved.
According to Jeremy Fowler, however, both the Steelers and Burnett have been seeking the opportunity to trade the player (in this case, he obviously would have been granted permission), and they will presumably continue to attempt to trade him for as long as they can before releasing him.
Pittsburgh was able to net a late sixth-round pick for right tackle Marcus Gilbert. Burnett is still 30 years old, not chronically over the hill for a strong safety by any means, and has many years of starting experience. He netted a contract of nearly $5 million per season a year ago.
A team trading for Burnett would inherit the final two years of his contract, which consists of base salaries of $5 million in 2019 and $4 million in 2020, with $50,000 roster bonuses included in each year as well.
Whether he is trade or released, the Steelers would save a touch over $3.6 million prior to roster displacement by clearing his contract off the books. Not that the team is likely to sign any more free agents to contracts that would move the needle much beyond the roster displacement threshold this far into free agency after having made three significant signings already.
Burnett would have been the starting strong safety in 2018 had he been healthy, even after they drafted Terrell Edmunds, but soft tissue injuries sidelined him for long enough that the rookie was able to surpass him. He grew unhappy with being reduced to playing in the dime role and wants to be used at safety, precipitating his desire to be released.