Despite the 2020 CBA making teams’ fifth-year option decisions a bit trickier, the Panthers have a fairly easy call to make. They will pick up Brian Burns‘ 2023 option, GM Scott Fitterer said (via The Athletic’s Joe Person, on Twitter).
Since Burns has received one Pro Bowl invite as an original selection, he is eligible for the Tier 2 option price ($16MM for defensive ends). That amount is fully guaranteed. Only six edge rushers’ cap numbers top that this year, but the Panthers will be connected to a Burns extension — one that likely will be targeted in 2023.
The Florida State product arrived during the Ron Rivera–Marty Hurney regime and has been a steady producer in Carolina. Burns has accumulated 25.5 sacks in three seasons, never finishing with fewer than 7.5, and he was named a Pro Bowl starter during a 2021 season in which he finished with nine sacks and 18 quarterback hits.
Carolina’s Matt Rhule regime made a preemptive strike by signing Christian McCaffrey to an extension with two years of team control remaining, doing so in 2020. In general, teams hesitate to do this. Burns will make just $2.3MM in base salary this season and count $4.3MM against the cap.