Panthers To Send OLB Brian Burns To Giants

At last, a resolution is coming in the Brian Burns saga. Two years after Burns became extension-eligible, he is being traded. The Giants will be the team to pay the franchise-tagged player now.

The Giants are sending the Panthers second- and fifth-round picks for Burns,’s Ian Rapoport reports. This deal will also come with an extension. New York will give Burns his long-sought-after extension, signing off on a five-year deal worth up to $150MM. The contract includes $87.5MM in guarantees. The Giants held an extra second-round pick from the 2023 Leonard Williams trade; that will come in handy as the team replenishes its pass rush.

Carolina-New York conversations on Burns had taken place for a stretch, and with the Panthers pausing extension talks for the 2019 first-round pick, that will lead to a scenery change. The Panthers kept Ejiro Evero in place as DC, and GM Dan Morgan was in the front office during Burns’ negotiations last year and when the Rams made a monster trade offer — one that far surpasses this actual haul — in 2022. But the Panthers were unable to complete a deal. They will now take what they can get and move on.

This moves comes nearly 18 months after the Rams proposed two first-round picks and a third for Burns at the 2022 trade deadline. In the aftermath of the Matt Rhule firing, the Panthers balked and prepared extension talks with Burns in 2023. Those conversations did not produce an agreement, and it did not sound like anything was close last year. The sides broke off talks before the season, and although more trade offers — not on the level of the Rams proposal — came out, the then-Scott Fitterer-run Panthers stood pat.

Burns has not been a top-tier edge rusher, having recorded one 10-plus-sack season (12.5 in 2022) in his five-year career. But the Giants will bet on the Florida State alum’s consistency. Burns has tallied at least 7.5 sacks in each of his NFL slates. He totaled eight last year. The former Ron Rivera-era Panthers draftee has tallied between 18 and 22 QB hits over the past four seasons. Burns’ 46 career sacks rank 12th in the NFL since 2019.

The Giants took a bit to reinvest in their edge positions following the Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon trades, but they took Azeez Ojulari in the 2021 second round. That was a Dave Gettleman-era move, and Ojulari did not play well in 2023. Ojulari only totaled 2.5 sacks in 11 games, undercutting Thibodeaux’s breakout to a degree. The Giants will pay up for Burns to go with Thibodeaux’s rookie deal, which can run through 2026 via the fifth-year option. While Burns’ AAV is not yet known, anything north of $28MM (T.J. Watt‘s deal) would bump him into second place behind only Nick Bosa among edges.

This wraps a long-running partnership for the Panthers, who had struggled to complement Burns on the edge. Yetur Gross-Matos and Justin Houston were unable to adequately do so, with hybrid performer Frankie Luvu — who is signing with the Commanders — being Carolina’s other top LB pass rusher. Gross-Matos and Marquis Haynes are free agents now. The Panthers will be in dire need at this premium position, and Monday saw a few of this year’s top edge players choose destinations already. The draft stands to be an avenue for the rebuilding team.

View Comments (57)