Safety Morgan Burnett tells NFL Network he wants Steelers to release him |
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Chris Adamski

Morgan Burnett was the Pittsburgh Steelers’ biggest free-agent signing last offseason. The union between them doesn’t appear as if it’s going to last too long.

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Burnett told him he “wants to be released from his deal before free agency.” A nine-year NFL veteran who played his first eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers, Burnett “felt he played out of position as a dime (linebacker)” and “wants a new start (and) a chance to play safety again.”

That probably wasn’t and isn’t going to happen in Pittsburgh, where the Steelers are set with younger players Sean Davis and Terrell Edmunds. Burnett signed a three-year, $14.35 million contract last March – but five weeks later the Steelers took Edmunds with their first-round draft pick.

Then Burnett missed the majority of training camp because of a hamstring injury. Edmunds seized the starting strong safety job and never really relented it (though Burnett started in his place for the Week 2 game against the Kansas City Chiefs).

According to Pro Football Focus, Burnett played just 142 snaps lining up at defensive back all season; he played 248 lined up as a hybrid linebacker. He played 37.2 percent of the Steelers’ defensive snaps this season — roughly a little more than half in the 11 games he played.

Burnett, who turned 30 this week, missed five games because of a groin injury and hasn’t played a 16-game season since 2012. He is due $5 million in salary this season with a $6.47 million salary-cap hit. If he’s cut, the Steelers will have to eat $2.83 million in “dead money,” though that can be spread over two seasons if the Steelers choose.

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Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at [email protected] or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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