Packers: Have we seen the last of Morgan Burnett in Green Bay?

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 10: Morgan Burnett
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 10: Morgan Burnett /

Have we seen the last of Morgan Burnett as a member of the Green Bay Packers?

As the dust has officially settled on the 2017 NFL season, we look ahead to what promises to be a very busy offseason.

The Packers defense is bound to undergo a major overhaul now that Mike Pettine has taken over for Dom Capers. That overhaul may very well include choosing not to re-sign their eight-year veteran free safety.

One of the more polarizing topics thus far in the offseason has been what the Packers will do with Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. If the Packers opt not to re-sign Morgan Burnett, that may free up cap space to keep both Nelson and Cobb.

And it seems as though Aaron Rodgers has made it clear he wants both Cobb and Nelson to remain with the Packers.

How would this break down financially?

Well, here are Jordy and Cobb’s current contract situations (according to Spotrac):

Cobb’s base salary in 2018 would be $8.6 million, and his total cap hit amounts to $12.72 million. Nelson has a 2018 base salary of $9.25 million and a cap hit of $12.51 million.

Due to their production from last season, most– if not all– people that follow the Packers believe that keeping both Nelson and Cobb at their full price is not a valid option. Whether that means each of them will take a pay cut or one of them will be released is yet to be seen.

How does Morgan Burnett factor into things?

Burnett’s previous contract was four years/$24.75 million. Odds are that Burnett will be wanting more money than that for this year’s contract negotiations because he has been more than a solid safety during the past four seasons. According to an article from 247 Sports, Burnett’s market value has been speculated to be as high as $10 million per season.

According to a story put out by ESPN, Burnett was ranked as the 36th best upcoming NFL free agent.

So what if Burnett does end up parting ways with the Pack? Who will take his place?

Well, I know he had a bit of an up-and-down first season, but Josh Jones is my guess. The Packers took Jones in the second round of last year’s draft, hoping he would make an immediate impact.

During his time on the field last season, Jones played in a lot of the spots that Burnett did. In Dom Capers’ “nitro” package, both Burnett and Jones saw playing time as a linebacker.

Jones finished with 60 tackles on the season, along with 11 assisted tackles, two sacks and one interception. Burnett had 48 tackles, 20 assisted tackles, no picks but one forced fumble.

And keep in mind Jones was a rookie, he’ll certainly get even better in the offseason.

When the Packers drafted the hard-hitting safety out NC State, I thought it was possible he could be the heir-apparent to Burnett. It’s seeming more and more likely that may be the case.

For the Packers front office it may come down to this: would you rather have Josh Jones take over for Burnett or have someone like Geronimo Allison fill the spot of Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb?

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Because of the chemistry between Aaron Rodgers and his two veteran receivers, I find it more likely that Burnett won’t be wearing the green and gold come September.