It’s no secret Morgan Burnett won’t be a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers for much longer, a self-imposed April 1st deadline to move him. For Kevin Colbert, it’s only a question of if they can get something for him. At today’s Owner Meetings, Colbert confirmed media reports the team is attempting to trade Burnett.
We’ll have to listen to Colbert’s exact words about the Barron signing and implication. Maybe a hint of how they plan to use him?
Of course, wanting and getting are two different things. Burnett is unlikely to have anything resembling a market, a 30 year old, oft injured, and coming off an unproductive season. If Marcus Gilbert, a great talent if healthy enough to start, could only fetch a 6th, it’s hard to see the team getting anything for Burnett. At best, some sort of conditional 7th round pick, perhaps for next year’s draft.
In the likely case the team can’t trade him, they’ll grant his release. Burnett signed a three-year, $14.35 million contract last March but clearly turned out to be a mistake. Injuries slowed him down in camp and the preseason, missing Week One, and he lost his starting SS spot to Terrell Edmunds. In total, Burnett made just a pair of starts, made 30 tackles, and didn’t force of capitalize on a turnover. No interceptions, forced fumbles, or fumble recoveries.
His worst moment came against the Oakland Raiders, allowing a late fourth quarter completion down the middle to Seth Roberts, a 39 yard gain to put them in scoring position. Burnett was caught looking back and leaping for the football even after Roberts made the catch.
Burnett’s release is obvious and justified but leaves the team with a couple of holes. It’s still likely the team searches for a dimebacker; Barron’s signing wouldn’t seem to alter those plans one bit. And regular safety depth is an issue too. Behind Sean Davis and Edmunds are Jordan Dangerfield and Marcus Allen. Dangerfield as the backup free safety is a scary thought while Allen played less than 30 snaps his rookie year and still has to establish himself as a steady contributor on special teams.