It seems unlikely at first glance, but as CheeseheadTV noted, Spotrac.com is projecting that the contract extension under discussion between the Green Bay Packers and free safety Morgan Burnett could reach nearly $8 million per year in new money.
Spotrac compared Burnett's stats to other safeties to find similar players who have signed contract extensions around the same points in their careers. Using Kam Chancellor (Seahawks), Tyvon Branch (Raiders), Eric Weddle (Chargers), and Michael Griffin (Titans) as a basis, they found that Burnett has actually performed better than those four players before their extensions, and would likely get a better deal than their average. As such, they are projecting that Burnett's new contract would add another four years and just over $32 million to his deal, which would then run through the 2017 season.
I'll admit, I was expecting something more in the range of $5 million in annual compensation. Then again, when factoring in Burnett's 2013 contract, the overall projected value of the deal gets brought to 5 years and about $33.4 million. This drops the overall annual value down closer to $6.5 million per year. That's still a little hefty, but doable for a top NFL safety. Furthermore, I still think that Green Bay can leverage that down below $30 million total over five years -- and anything less than $6 million annually will be a great deal for Ted Thompson and company.
We'll see how this all shakes out over the next few weeks.