Steelers Trying To Trade S Morgan Burnett

The Steelers are going to have another high profile departure. Pittsburgh plans to release safety Morgan Burnett sometime before April 1st, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com.

Pittsburgh is still attempting to trade Burnett, as general manager Kevin Colbert explained to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette (Twitter link). But if the Steelers aren’t able to find a trade partner willing to take on Burnett, Colbert confirmed the club will release the veteran defensive back.

According to Burnett’s agent, the safety requested the move. A source told Fowler that “the team and player discussed trade possibilities before the release.” We heard a couple of months ago that Burnett was unhappy and wanted to be released, and now he’s getting his wish, although a bit later than he had hoped.

The safety market has been very active and was crowded to begin with, and there are still some big names available like Tre Boston and Eric Berry. As such, Burnett might have to wait a little while before finding a new home. Burnett apparently wanted to be released because he didn’t like that the Steelers were playing him at linebacker at times, and wanted to go to a team where he could be a full-time safety again.

When the move becomes official, Burnett will have made it just one year into the three-year, $14.5MM pact he signed last March. Burnett is 30 now, and not the player he once was with the Packers. He also missed five games with injury last year, and four games the year before that. Th 2010 third round pick had six passes defended and 30 tackles last year in his part-time role, although he did still receive slightly above average marks from Pro Football Focus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers To Sign LB Mark Barron

The Steelers have agreed to sign linebacker Mark Barron to a two-year, $12MM deal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Barron, 29, was released by the Rams earlier this month in a move that saved Los Angeles $6.5MM in cap space. He was due a $5MM base salary and a $3MM roster bonus in 2019, so Barron won’t recoup his single-season earnings under his new contact with the Steelers.

A former safety, Barron was traded from the Buccaneers to the Rams during the 2014 campaign. In each of his first two full seasons with Los Angeles, Barron posted at least 100 tackles, and compiled 16 tackles for loss in 2016. The No. 7 overall selection in the 2012 draft, Barron has 104 appearances and 93 starts under his belt.

Pittsburgh is in need of help at inside linebacker, as neither Vince Williams nor Jonathan Bostic graded as a top-40 LB league-wide in 2018, per Pro Football Focus. Specifically, the Steelers needed to reinforce their second-level pass defense after ranking 31st in DVOA against opposing tight ends and 15th against running backs, according to Football Outsiders.

The Steelers have only ~$6.8MM in cap space, so Barron’s deal — even if it likely has a cheap cap charge in 2019 — will push them closer to the brink. Given that he was cut, Barron won’t factor into Pittsburgh’s compensatory pick formula.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.