How much will potential Brian Burns extension cost the Panthers?

(Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns
(Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /

How much could a potential contract extension for defensive end Brian Burns end up costing the Carolina Panthers in the not-too-distant future?

The Carolina Panthers have made it a priority to look after their own since general manager Scott Fitterer joined the ranks. He has preached on countless occasions the importance of retaining draft picks who prove their worth, something that happened this offseason when cornerback Donte Jackson was given a new deal ahead of All-Pro Stephon Gilmore, who was allowed to leave and subsequently signed for the Indianapolis Colts.

Not only this, wide receiver D.J. Moore was paid handsomely ahead of time. This came after a hugely consistent spell with the Panthers that is made even more remarkable by the lack of consistent quarterback play since the Maryland product entered the league.

This looks to be a solid blueprint for success in Carolina.

Something that solidifies the future while also focusing on the present.

Next on the list for a potential extension is apparently Brian Burns. The defensive end had his fifth-year option picked up by the Panthers this offseason as expected, with Fitterer stating that tying down the former first-round pick long-term is among the team’s biggest priorities.

Burns will count $4.3 million against Carolina’s salary cap in 2022 on the penultimate year of his deal. This will increase significantly to $16.01 million in Year 5, but if the edge rusher takes another leap forward this season, it could lead to his demands going through the roof as a result.

Brian Burns could get major money from the Carolina Panthers on his next deal

The Florida State product achieved nine sacks and a first Pro Bowl selection last time around. But there were some gap discipline issues against the run and Burns also needs to turn pressures into sacks more effectively to be considered among the truly elite pass-rushers.

Expectations will be enormously high for Burns when competitive action comes around once again. The Panthers no longer have Haason Reddick coming off the opposite edge after he joined the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency, which means there will be far more attention from opposing protection schemes coming his way.

There’s just no telling what Burns is capable of when he puts everything together.

And that is going to cost the Panthers.

The cap is only going up with television and streaming revenue increasing significantly. As it stands right now, here are the top-five cap numbers for pass-rushers in 2022:

  • T.J. Watt – $31.1 million
  • Joey Bosa – $28.25 million
  • Leonard Williams – $27.3 million
  • Bud Dupree – $19.7 million
  • Robert Quinn – $17.1 million

This is the range that Burns will be aiming for. Somewhere around $20 million per season is likely to be the going rate for productive edge defenders moving forward, so the Panthers would have to be truly convinced they are getting bang for their buck.

Burns is a core player on defense who has received praise for his emergence into a leadership role. This is probably why Fitterer is keen to get a deal done sooner rather than later in case the market soars before they get the chance.

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There does appear a willingness from both parties to get this situation resolved before complications could emerge down the line. The Panthers have placed a lot of faith in Burns this offseason and if he delivers, then the player will likely get one of the biggest-ever contracts given out by the organization.