Morgan Burnett

The Green Bay Packers have plenty of guys entering their contract year, but safety Morgan Burnett appears to be the next guy the organization has targeted for an extension.

That goes against the conventional thinking that the bigger name guys like B.J. Raji, James Jones or even Jermichael Finley would follow Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews in signing new deals.

Not so, says Jason La Canfora.

Burnett is entering the final year of his rookie deal and is scheduled to make $1.3 million.

He’s proven to be durable — starting all 16 games the past two season — and he’s also now the senior Packers safety with Charles Woodson in Oakland.

Burnett led the Packers with 122 tackles in 2012. He also had two picks, two sacks and two forced fumbles. If Burnett continues to improve, as he should, he’ll be able to command some big money when his contract expires.

The first question is, can the Packers afford to do anymore extensions right now? And the answer is, yes.

Even after giving Rodgers and Matthews mega-deals, the Packers still have more than $16 million available in cap space. They still need to sign first-round pick Datone Jones, but that won’t be a big-money deal.

Signing Burnett now at a team-friendly number makes a lot of sense.

What might Burnett’s deal look like? Probably not like Troy Polamalu’s. He’s the highest-paid safety in the league at an average of $9.125 million per season.

No. 10 on that list is the perfectly mediocre (and older) LaRon Landry, who makes an average of $6 million per season. It seems unlikely that the Packers would be willing to commit that much to Burnett, but you could certainly make a case — and Burnett’s agent surely is — that Burnett is worth at least as much as Landry.

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