In pursuing a long-term contract agreement with safety Morgan Burnett, a story reported last week by CBSSports.com and advanced Monday by multiple media outlets, the Green Bay Packers clearly valued stability and reliability above all else.
Green Bay Packers
Burnett has yet to develop into the kind of play-making safety that teams covet in this passing era, having intercepted six passes and forced four fumbles in three seasons. (Two of those interceptions came on passes thrown into his hands by Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder last season.)
But after recovering from a torn ACL that ended his rookie season in 2010, Burnett has rarely missed a snap. He has started 32 consecutive regular-season games, missing 16 plays in 2011 while dealing with a broken hand and becoming one of four non-offensive linemen in the NFL to play all of his team's snaps in 2012. All told, Burnett has been on the field for 2,169 of the Packers' 2,185 defensive snaps (99.3 percent) since the start of the 2011 season.
It's far too early to write off Burnett's future development. He was drafted two months after turning 21 and won't be 25 until next January. But if nothing else, the Packers know they have a reliable starter who will get involved in the tackle -- he ranked second on the team with 137 tackles last season, according to the team's internal film review -- and will do his best to play when less than 100 percent. That's worth a few bucks these days.