The Green Bay Packers were very smart to extend safety Morgan Burnett’s contract to keep the 24-year-old with the organization for the next four years. Some have already said that $24.75 million ($26 million with incentives) is too much to pay for a safety. However, the fact is Burnett is essential to the success of the Packers in the ensuing years, especially if Green Bay plans on bringing another Super Bowl to Titletown.
Burnett is only one of two defensive players in the NFL to line up for every snap last season. His career-high 123 total tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, two interceptions and five passes defended in 2012 are just the tip of the iceberg. There is no question his potential is overwhelming.
With safety Nick Collins and defensive back Charles Woodson no longer with the team, Green Bay needs some of their players to step up and take on a leadership role. Outside linebacker Clay Matthews and cornerback Tramon Williams have clearly done that, as there is no question many players in the locker room look up to both men. With Burnett increasing his production and becoming a ball hawk on defense, it is only natural for players to begin looking to him to be a leader as well.
“Being a leader. Being a consistent tackler,” Packers safeties coach Darren Perry told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last November. “And pretty much running the show back there in terms of making all of our calls, checks, being a factor in the run game and in the pass game.
“We ask him to do a lot. I think he’s progressing. You see him getting more and more comfortable with that role, being more vocal and playing faster and playing with the physicality that you’d like to see.”
There is no question Burnett has plenty of areas to improve before he can be considered an elite safety. However, the good news is he is determined to learn and practice hard in order to be an effective contributor on the field. He understands that the Packers need him to be a top-notch performer in order to have success.