The news on this Saturday in the world of the Green Bay Packers is all about the free-agent signing of Julius Peppers, but it's also the day safety Morgan Burnett receives a $1.5 million roster bonus from the team.
Despite a subpar 2013 season in the first year of a new five-year contract worth a total of roughly $26 million, there was almost zero chance the Packers part ways with Burnett in order to save the $1.5 million.
If the Packers were to theoretically cut Burnett, he would count $6.6 million in dead money against the team's salary cap in 2014, $4.95 million in 2015, $3.3 million in 2016 and $1.65 million in 2017.
The approach the Packers appear to be taking is to upgrade the position at the other safety position opposite Burnett and hope that his play improves as a result.
That would certainly seem to be the case in light of allowing last year's starter M.D. Jennings leave in free agency to sign with the Chicago Bears and the emphasis on improving the team's pass rush by signing Peppers.
In-house options for improving the safety position include Sean Richardson and potentially shifting Micah Hyde from cornerback. Outside of that, any significant additions are likely to come from the NFL Draft with a first-round investment being a very distinct possibility. Safeties such as Deone Bucannon, Calvin Pryor and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix are all potential targets.
With most of the big names at safety already off the free-agent market, the only options left are those that might be will to come at a bargain price.
Burnett will make a $1.15 million base salary in 2014 but have a salary-cap number of $4.84 million. He also has per game roster bonus totaling $300,000 and a workout bonus worth $300,000 in 2014.
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