4 pressing items remaining for the Carolina Panthers this offseason

(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Scott Fitterer
(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Scott Fitterer /
3 of 4
Carolina Panthers
(Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /

Contract extension for Brian Burns?

The Carolina Panthers unsurprisingly picked up Brian Burns‘ fifth-year option, which puts him under contract until 2024. However, general manager Scott Fitterer has already issued a desire to get the defensive end tied down long-term and preferably sooner rather than later.

Burns brought his game on another step last season en route to nine sacks and a first-ever Pro Bowl selection. The presence of Haason Reddick rushing from the opposite side made this a supreme tandem, but that turned out to be a brief partnership after the Temple product signed for the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency.

Whether the Panthers have enough confidence in the likes of Yetur Gross-Matos and Marquis Haynes taking the necessary step forward is something else to decipher in the not-too-distant future. If they aren’t convinced, Carolina has the cap space to make another signing should they wish.

Burns does need to work on gap discipline and finishing off plays with more conviction, but he is easily the best pass-rusher Carolina has. Providing him with some long-term security could be a solid bit of business and the key to unlocking his true potential.

The Florida State product missed the early offseason workout program but was back in the building on Monday fresh and raring to go ahead of what will hopefully be a profitable campaign for the edge rusher. Tying the player down now might make financial sense because there is just no telling what his demands could be with a double-digit sack season in 2022.