With the regular season underway, many notable extension-eligible players have turned the attention from contract talks to their performance on the field. Panthers edge rusher Brian Burns is among them.
Talks between Burns and the Panthers took place this offseason, but the parties never seemed on the verge of an agreement being reached. The 25-year-old was present for training camp, but his temporary absence in the build-up to Week 1 left his status in question until shortly before the season opener. Burns is now prepared to put that process in the rearview and pause negotiations until the winter. He will make $16MM on the fifth-year option in 2023.
“We haven’t really been in talks,” the Florida State alum said, via ESPN’s David Newton. “I told them once the season started I’m all about ball. I can’t give a thousand percent on the field and to my teammates if I’m still worried about contract negotiations.”
Burns added that he considered a training camp holdout at one point, a tactic which many players have employed to create leverage during extension talks. Instead of remaining absent from the team during the summer – or even into the start of the regular season, as Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones did for one week this year – Burns committed to playing this season without a new deal in hand. A notable gap is believed to exist with respect to asking price on what will be a lucrative accord, making it little surprise that negotiations will be tabled.
Notably, however, Newton notes that the Panthers are willing to carry on extension talks during the campaign. It will be interesting to see if either side changes its stance as the season plays out. Burns got off to a productive start in Week 1 with a pair of sacks, bringing his career total to 40 in 65 games. A strong season (like his second straight Pro Bowl year in 2022) would help his market value, and thus his chances of landing a deal close to the historic one Nick Bosa signed with the 49ers days before Week 1.
That pact carries a $34MM AAV, well outpacing the next highest edge rush deal (T.J. Watt‘s $28MM-per-year contract). The Panthers are believed to be targeting a Burns extension landing him closer to Maxx Crosby‘s annual compensation of $23.MM. A figure falling between those two baselines would come as little surprise if and when a deal is struck keeping Burns in Carolina, but it appears such a development will not take place for at least the next several months.