Contract Forecast: Morgan Burnett

Contract Forecast: Morgan Burnett
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Contract Forecast: Morgan Burnett

He's not a household name when it comes to major defensive players in the league - but Packers safety Morgan Burnett has quietly and productively outplayed his rookie contract. News out of Green Bay rumors the team and Burnett are in talks for an extension to keep the defensive back around long-term. Our premium team puts him through our statistical/financial analysis to prove his value and forecast numbers for the pending deal.

Quick Points
  •  Burnett was the 16th highest rated safety in the NFL in 2012 according to Pro Football Focus.
  •  He's the 69th highest average paid safety in the NFL currently.
  •  He led all safeties with 91 tackles in 2012
Comparable Safeties
Burnett won't turn 25 until January, but understand this contract will be an extension to the final year remaining on his rookie deal, we'll call him 25 for evaluation purposes. We've located four safeties who signed deals recently at a similar age, all and who perform statistically similar to Burnett. To determine a more likely starting point for our numbers, we'll perform a linear regression of each contract breakdown listed below.
Player Length Value Avg. Salary Age When Signed
Kam Chancellor 5 $29,323,008 $5,864,602 25
Tyvon Branch 4 $26,600,000 $6,650,000 25
Eric Weddle 5 $40,000,000 $8,000,000 26
Michael Griffin 5 $35,000,000 $7,000,000 27
Average,s 4.75 $32,730,752 $6,878,650 25.75

Note: A linear regression is a formula that plots the provided points of data for Length and Value of the contracts, and then generates the best-fit line for those points, resulting in a "slope" value that translates to an average annual salary.

View the list of Top Average Paid Safeties in the NFL

Because Weddle and Griffin were older than Burnett, we'll bring their above contracts down to his age by subtracting from the overall years to make each variable player 25 years old. Once a linear regression is performed on these new numbers we're given the following terms to begin with:

Length Value Avg. Salary (slope)
5 $33,637,503 $6,727,501
Statistical Analyzations, Prime Percentage
Now let's analyze these players statistically in the two years prior to signing their second contract by showing Games Played, Tackles, Assists, Forced Fumbles, Interceptions, and the percentage the oppising WR caught the ball against the DB. The results will provide us with an indication of his "prime" value prior to signing an extension.
Player Games Tackles Assists Forced Fum. INT WR Catch %
Kam Chancellor (2011-12, SEA) 15.5 71 22 1.5 2 62.15
Eric Weddle (2009-10, SD) 14.5 73.5 15 0 2 62.45
Michael Griffin (2010-11, TEN) 16 72.5 19 1.5 3 60.4
Tyvon Branch (2010-11, OAK) 16 78 26 .5 1 65.7
Averages 15.5 73.75 20.5 .875 2 62.675
Morgan Burnett (2011-12, GB) 16 82.5 33 2 2.5 65.6
% Difference 3.23% 11.86% 60.98% 128.57% 25.00% -4.67%
Prime Percentage% 19.27%
Our results show a few things - the most important being that overall Burnett not only belongs in this company - but exceeds it in all statistics except coverage percentage. It should be noted that "run-stopping" statistics such as tackle, forceed fumbles, and assists are noticably higher than our variables, most likely a testament to the formation he's most used in. However he also holds up well with intereceptions - and only a slight decrease in coverage completion percentage.

We'll factor the determined Prime Percentage of 19.27%, into our previously calculated base value.
Guaranteed Money
Burnett has been both consistent (quietly) and healthy throughout his rookie deal. His numbers have improved every year, and he averages 16 games per season. We'll afford him the average percent guaranteed from our variable contracts + the prime percentage.
Player Value True Guarantees % Guaranteed
Kam Chancellor $29,323,008 $17,000,000 58%
Tyvon Branch $26,600,000 $6,600,000 24.8%
Eric Weddle $40,000,000 $19,000,000 47.5%
Michael Griffin $35,000,000 $11,500,000 32.9%

Length of the Contract
Because we're treating this as an extension, we'll disregard the 2013 season, even though it will factor into the overall contract going forward. Our average contract length from variable safeties came out to 4.33 years. We'll round it down to a 4 year extension for Burnett.

Value of the Contract
Our initial age-adjusted regression provided an average annual salary just north of $6.7M, which would make him the 10th highest average paid safety in football. When factoring a significant prime percentage of 19.27%, we're able to increase our forecast to the following:

Spotrac's Prediction: 4 years, $32,095,560

  •  Average annual salary: $8,023,890
  •  Guaranteed money: $16,635,317 (including 2013; over 5 years)