Panthers Pause Brian Burns Extension Talks

Brian Burns is an obvious franchise tag candidate in the event a long-term Panthers deal cannot be worked out. The latest development in this situation points further to the tag being necessary.

[RELATED: Panthers Discussing Derrick Brown Extension]

The Panthers informed Burns’ camp during the Combine that talks are on hold, Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reports. Negotiations on a sizable second contract have run hot and cold as a decision on a tag draws nearer. Burns was to no surprise on the radar of several teams – including the Commanders – in advance of the trade deadline. Even after it became clear he would not be on the move, the former first-rounder confirmed midseason extension talks were not taking place.

Mutual interest is known to exist between team and player in Burns’ case, but time is running out to come to terms on a mega-pact. The franchise tag deadline is March 5, and using it will create a window until mid-July to work out an agreement or a trade sending him to a new team. Carolina turned down an offer of two first-round picks from the Rams, as well as overtures from other suitors in the hopes of keeping the two-time Pro Bowler in the fold. General manager Dan Morgan recently all-but guaranteed the tag would be used if needed to avoid Burns reaching free agency.

The franchise tag would cost $24MM in the event the Florida State alum was classified as an outside linebacker or $21.32MM if designated a defensive end. Even if a compromise were worked out, questions would continue regarding Burns’ future in Carolina. He has posted 46 sacks in five seasons, and he earned $16MM on the fifth-year option last season. A new pact will check in at a much larger rate given his success as a sack artist, although limitations against the run could hinder his value on the open market.

Still, several suitors would no doubt be prepared to execute a tag-and-trade if Burns does indeed become available. Entering his age-26 season, he will be expected to continue producing at a high level in 2024 and beyond. Without a resumption of talks (and tangible progress being made in short order), however, it will remain up in the air whether or not Burns will be suiting up for the Panthers in the future.

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