4 Panthers players who could earn massive contract extensions in 2023

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /

87. . DE. Carolina Panthers. BRIAN BURNS. 4. player

Brian Burns – Carolina Panthers DE

The Carolina Panthers inevitably picked up Brian Burns‘ fifth-year option after a season that brought nine sacks and a first-ever Pro Bowl appearance. Much more will be expected of the defensive end this time around without the presence of Haason Reddick rushing off the opposite edge, so how he copes with such responsibility will tell us plenty about what his ceiling truly is.

Burns has the size, explosiveness, and pass-rushing moves to become an elite player at the position. Becoming increasingly consistent against the run and converting his pressures into sacks are two components that will take the Florida State product’s game to completely new heights.

General manager Scott Fitterer outlined his desire to get a new deal done with Burns. Perhaps sorting this out way ahead of time will save the Panthers money in the long run.

Should Burns take another leap forward in 2022, then there is just no telling how much money his representatives will demand. Somewhere in the region of $20 million a year is a going rate for prolific pass-rushers in the modern-day game and it might be even higher than that given his age and upside.

Considering the lack of defensive end depth within the Panthers right now, Burns is an indispensable asset next season. If he puts it all together, then expect Carolina’s primary decision-makers to put a financial package in place that will be one of the biggest in the organization’s history.

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