In a move that has been excepted since January, the Steelers cut Morgan Burnett after the safety had spent just one season with the team. The Steelers signed Morgan Burnett during the 2018 off season as an unrestricted free agent to play strong safety.
- However, Burnett spent the bulk of his time playing dime linebacker, prompting him to tell the NFL Network he wanted his release.
Most Steelers fans will remember Morgan Burnett for the play below.
The Steelers were holding on to a slim lead against Oakland, and David Carr rocketed a pass down field to Seth Roberts. As you can see, both Morgan Burnett and Terrell Edmunds were there, but neither man made a play on the ball, and the catch set up the go ahead touchdown for Oakland.
- But should this one play define Morgan Burnett’s brief tenure a Steelers?
In one sense, perhaps it was. Losing Ryan Shazier dealt a lethal blow to the Steelers defense in 2017. The Steelers defense carried the Steelers during the first half of 2017 while Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell were slumping.
The unit that was flashing very goodness, if not more, at midseason. Losing Joe Haden exposed some weaknesses, and the Ryan Shazier’s spinal contusion knocked to bottom out of the defense.
The Steelers attempted to bolster things by drafting Terrell Edmunds in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, signing Morgan Burnett and Jon Bostic. In many respects, the play pictured above symbolizes just how far short the Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin’s improvement efforts fell short.
- That photo of Burnett and Edmunds getting burned might be worth a thousand words, but it also doesn’t tell a complete story.
While many Pittsburgh fans and many in the press might protest, the Steelers defense did improve in 2018. Just a few plays after the one depicted above, While Morgan Burnett deflected a sure touchdown pass intended for Jared Cook.
The next week in the Steelers win against the New England Patriots, Morgan Burnett took his play to the next level. On 4th and 15 Tom Brady fired off a pass at Julian Edelman that Burnett defended picture perfectly. Game over. Steelers earn first win against Patriots since 2011.
- Those two pass defenses perhaps symbolize the progress the Steelers defense made in 2018.
While players like Javon Hargrave, T.J. Watt, Joe Haden, and Sean Davis combined with Stephon Tuitt and Cam Heyward staying healthy all season did Morgan Burnett made his contributions when he finally got healthy.
A lot of that improvement occurred under the radar, and its fair to say that Morgan Brunett’s role was under the radar. Regardless, he’s gone now.