It didn’t even take a full workweek for ex-Pittsburgh Steelers safety Morgan Burnett to find a new home.
The veteran is set to sign a two-year contract with the Cleveland Browns, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports. Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer first reported the news. The team later confirmed the signing along with announcing the signing of quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who most recently played with the Alliance of American Football’s Orlando Apollos.
Rapoport reported the deal is for two years at a max of nearly $9 million, with a guarantee of almost $4 million.
Burnett was cut by the Steelers on Monday, one year into a three-year pact. The Steelers attempted to trade the safety after he requested his release back in January, but came up empty.
The Browns, apparently, were waiting in the wings.
After being a poor fit in Pittsburgh — who had a bigger need for a deep cover safety than a box-player — Burnett hopes to recapture his form in Cleveland.
The signing furthers the trend of Browns general manager John Dorsey bringing in players with whom he’s familiar. Dorsey was the Director of College Scouting in Green Bay when the Packers made Burnett a third-round pick in 2010.
Dorsey continues to churn the safety position in Cleveland. After trading Jabrill Peppers to New York, he cut young safety Derrick Kindred, traded for Eric Murray from Kansas City (another of his former draft picks) and now signs Burnett.
Just 30-years-old entering his 10th NFL season, there is still tread on Burnett’s tires despite fizzling out in Pittsburgh. It’s likely the Browns have a better plan to utilize the veteran’s skill set than the Steelers did a year ago.
As a box safety and potential dime linebacker, Burnett should pair well as a complement to Cleveland free safety Damarious Randall on the back end. If Burnett plays as well as he did during the end of his run in Green Bay, the Browns should have a stable back end rotation to lean on in 2019.
Gilbert led the AAF with 2,152 yards passing and was second in the league with 13 touchdowns as he quarterbacked Orlando to the league’s best record. Previously, Gilbert played for the Carolina Panthers in 2018, playing in just one game and had previously been signed by the Rams, Patriots, Lions and Raiders.