Two major trades involving edge rushers took place this week, but Brian Burns was not moved. That comes as little surprise given the Panthers’ stance leading up to the deadline, but it was not for a lack of interest shown from numerous suitors.
At least five teams were known to be in on Burns, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. The list includes both the Bears and 49ers, the clubs which landed high-profile acquisitions in deals with the Commanders. Chicago added (and has since extended) Montez Sweat, while San Francisco bolstered its already impressive defensive line by bringing in Chase Young. With Burns joining that pair as one of the top prizes available amongst edge rushers, both the Bears and 49ers represent logical suitors for the Panthers to have held talks with on a potential deal.
Interest was also shown by the Jaguars, Falcons and Ravens, Schefter adds. Jacksonville was named as a team to watch on the edge front, with a recent report indicating they nearly finalized an offseason deal for Vikings sack artist Danielle Hunter. Despite leading the league in sacks, Baltimore engaged in trade talks about Young, so it comes as no surprise the team also kicked the tires on a potential Burns swap. Atlanta, meanwhile, made a number of changes on defense this offseason, but added production on the edge would have been welcomed (although an intra-divisional trade involving a player at such a premium position in his prime would have no doubt been difficult to pull off).
Of course, the Panthers are no strangers to receiving strong interest in a Burns acquisition. The Rams submitted an offer including two first-round picks last year, and the Bears attempted to include the two-time Pro Bowler in the trade involving the draft’s No. 1 pick. In both instances, Carolina held firm in its commitment to keeping Burns, something which remained in place this year as well.
The 25-year-old has been highly productive during his time with the Panthers, including five sacks in seven games this season. That has helped his market value on a new contract, something which is not close to being worked out. Burns acknowledged before the deadline that talks on an extension are not ongoing, and it remains to be seen when they will resume. A gap in annual value exists between Burns’ camp and the team on what will, in any event, be a massive raise for the Florida State product .
With the franchise tag (projected to check in at $17.4MM if he is classified as a linebacker, or $20.4MM as a defensive end) looming in case no long-term deal is reached, Burns will be counted on as the anchor of Carolina’s edge rush group to close out the season. That is especially true with Justin Houston joining Yetur Gross-Matos on injured reserve. With Carolina still planning to keep Burns in place for the foreseeable future, it will be interesting to see how his situation unfolds in the coming months.