4 Panthers who will benefit most from free-agent signings so far
By Dean Jones
Brian Burns – Carolina Panthers DE
To say Brian Burns made some substantial strides during his second season in a professional environment would be something of an understatement. The defensive end emerged as one of the NFL’s brightest and most complete players at the position, with all this coming in spite of a relative lack of talent around him.
The Carolina Panthers endured some real difficulty generating pressure off the edge if it wasn’t coming from Burns. Stephen Weatherly’s chance to be a full-time starter was a failed experiment that has seen the player return to the Minnesota Vikings, with second-round pick Yetur Gross-Matos showing flashes during a frustrating campaign due to injury and a spell on the COVID-19 list.
Credit to the Panthers, they identified this as a top priority and acted accordingly. The team confirmed the signing of Haason Reddick from the Arizona Cardinals on a one-year deal that represents a significant bargain for someone who gained 12.5 sacks in 2020.
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Putting him on the opposite side of the field to Burns is going to do the former Florida State star the world of good. Teams will be wary of double-teaming him with Reddick’s presence and a little bit more room could be all the third-year pro needs to reach a completely different stratosphere.