Q&A: Will Burnett Be Extended?

I‘ll be answering your questions each Saturday from now until the end of the 2017 season (hopefully that’ll be in February). Here are some of this week’s submissions:

Is this Morgan Burnett’s last season in Green Bay? His contract is up this year, and despite being 28, it feels like he should be 34 as long as he’s been starting? – Bryan

I thought Burnett was the team’s most valuable defensive player in 2016, and he’ll probably be among the most valuable again this season. That said, he’ll also turn 29 years old in January, and the Packers are potentially very deep at the safety position. Pro Bowler Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is a rising star, and the coaches really like the potential of Kentrell Brice, Marwin Evans, and rookie Josh Jones.

The only way I see Burnett wearing a Packers uniform in 2018 – and it’s unlikely – is if he’s willing to sign a very team-friendly deal in the next few months. If he’s unsigned going into the offseason, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which he returns. Some team will likely offer a lot more money than general manager Ted Thompson is willing to pay for a player with a lot of wear on the tires – even a good one like Burnett.

If Taysom Hill continues to play well in the preseason, can the Packers risk losing him on waivers? – Tracy

I don’t see much risk in releasing Hill next Saturday when all rosters must be down to 53 players. He wasn’t drafted, he’s competed against future Arena Leaguers in the preseason, and he turned 27 a few days ago. I like Hill, but every year around this time Packers fans worry about losing a young player on waivers, and every year 90% wind up going unclaimed. Hill could be the poster child for the practice squad.

How impressed are you with the potential defensive line of the current Packers? I recognize Montravius Adams remains a mystery, but Dean Lowry, Kenny Clark, and Mike Daniels have (to me) looked really solid. Ricky Jean Francois and Brian Price have also looked good. What are your thoughts? – D

Nobody is going to compare this group to the legendary one from 1996 (Reggie White, Gilbert Brown, Santana Dotson and Sean Jones) or even the one from 2010 (Cullen Jenkins, Ryan Pickett, B.J. Raji, etc.), but Thompson has put together a pretty good unit. Can it be better than pretty good? That depends on the development of Clark and Lowry. My biggest concern is the lack of pass rushers. I thought Adams had a chance to help in that area, but his foot injury will make it a challenge for him to contribute as a rookie.

What do you think the distribution of running back carries will look like against Seattle in week 1? -Tyger

The more I watch the Packers this summer, the more convinced I become that coach Mike McCarthy will use the running game simply to give his receivers a chance to catch their breath. With Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, Martellus Bennett, etc., he’ll be doing defenses a huge favor every time he asks quarterback Aaron Rodgers to hand the ball off. As for week 1 – assuming it’s a close game – let’s say 11 carries for Ty Montgomery and 10 more split among rookie Jamaal Williams and fullback Aaron Ripkowski.

Any guesses why Jason Spriggs has shown so poorly so far? Just seems counter-intuitive for a guy that some projected as a first rounder and most agreed had the feet, length and athletic ability for left tackle. To my naked eye, he actually looks worse than last year. What possibly could be the reason(s)? – Steven

Because Spriggs has been SO bad this summer, I’m actually not overly concerned about his long-term future. I know this sounds strange, but let me explain. He’s simply too physically talented to look SO inept against journeymen defensive linemen. This suggests to me that his biggest issues are from the neck up, and that can be fixed. That said, I sure wouldn’t mind seeing him put together a better effort tonight in Denver.

(Don’t forget to send any questions for the next Q&A by Tuesday night.)

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Michael Rodney

Packers Notes is the creation of Michael Rodney, who has been writing about the Green Bay Packers for over 30 years. His first blog, Packer Update, hit the internet in 2004. Before becoming a public educator, Rodney worked as a journalist for a couple of newspapers in his home state of New Jersey and covered the Philadelphia Eagles for WTXF-TV. He's had numerous articles on the Packers published, and he's been featured on both television and radio over the years.

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