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: What are the odds of Morgan Burnett being on the roster in 2019?
Given that he is still here, I guess at this point we can’t say for sure that the Steelers are going to release veteran safety Morgan Burnett, whom they signed to a three-year contract for borderline starter money last offseason.
He was supposed to be the starter, but constant injuries kept him off the practice field and opened the door for rookie Terrell Edmunds to jump ahead of him. He was injured in the only game he started and then missed the next four games, leading through the bye week, and never got his job back.
Reportedly, Burnett has even requested his release, but it has not been granted, and the Steelers are under no obligation to oblige. It’s likely at this point that they will hold on to him at least through the draft to see how that shakes out. They released veteran J. J. Wilcox after drafting Edmunds and Marcus Allen last year.
It’s possible he could even make it all the way into training camp and still not make the team. It really depends upon how they feel about the depth that they have, which behind Edmunds and Sean Davis consists of Allen and veteran Jordan Dangerfield, who is actually the oldest member of the group other than Burnett.
But the Steelers carried six safeties at the beginning of the season last year. It’s a position where they want numbers—I’m guessing at least five—so Burnett would give them five. So that also means that it’s a position that they could still address in free agency (in the bargain bin) or in the draft in the mid- to late-round portion).
If released prior to June, the Steelers would save about $3 million after displacement. If released post-June (whether in actuality or as a designation) they would shave off about $4.5 million for 2019 after displacement.
If he’s not released, however—get this—they won’t save any cap space. But they will have him on the roster, whether he’s happy about it or not. Maybe he can dye something blonde…