Steelers News: Safety Morgan Burnett to Be Released, Will Be Free Agent

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 22, 2019

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 28:  Morgan Burnett #42 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action  against the Cleveland Browns on October 28, 2018 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are planning to release safety Morgan Burnett by April 1.

Kevin Conner, Burnett's agent, told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Friday the roster move was scheduled to take place Wednesday at the safety's request, but "accounting issues" will delay his trip to free agency.

The 30-year-old Georgia Tech product originally requested his release in January after he started just two games during his first year in Pittsburgh. He signed a three-year, $14.5 million contract last March.

Burnett, who often played linebacker in dime packages to see the field for the Steelers, recorded 30 total tackles and six passes defended across 11 appearances. Pro Football Focus graded him as the league's 53rd-best safety for 2018.

The Tennessee native also missed time with hamstring and groin injuries.

"Any time you have an injury, you want to get back as soon as possible, but sometimes your body has a mind of its own," Burnett told reporters in October. "I'm confident in what I can do as a player. As a competitor, you want to be out there competing."

Burnett spent the first eight years of his NFL career with the Green Bay Packers, who selected him in the third round of the 2010 draft.

He exceeded the 100-tackle plateau four times with Green Bay, including a career-best 143 tackles in 2014, while also tallying 44 passes defended, nine interceptions and eight forced fumbles in 102 games.

Once the red tape is finally cleared, Burnett will head to the open market and look for an opportunity where he'll at least be able to compete for a starting safety job during training camp.