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Morgan Burnett, Packers working on new contract?

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy has been talking up safety Morgan Burnett as an ascendant player in the Packers' secondary since last summer. That's bound to have a positive effect on the safety's bank account.

Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tweeted Thursday that the Packers are "trying to hammer out a new deal" with Burnett, the fourth-year defender who's started 32 straight games for the Packers. Burnett, in the final year of his rookie deal, is due $1.323 million in 2013.

"Morgan has clearly established himself as the leader back there," McCarthy told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in May. "His communication has been outstanding."

Burnett's improved play factored into a Packers defense that went from dead last in the NFL in 2011 to 11th one season ago. In the process, Burnett, a third-round draft pick in 2010, graded out as the NFL's 16th best safety, per ProFootballFocus.com.

Burnett is part of the long-term plan in Green Bay. McCarthy has preached all offseason about building a faster, more rugged defense that can hold up to the league's pass-heavy attacks and contain the read-option. They'll be tested immediately in the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers -- who fried the Pack in the playoffs -- and it gets no easier in Week 2, when the Washington Redskins come to town.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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