Brian Burns – Carolina Panthers DE
Scott Fitterer made no secret of his desire to get Brian Burns tied down to a long-term contract after picking up his fifth-year option this offseason. The general manager has looked after productive talent drafted by the Carolina Panthers since his appointment, with the likes of Donte Jackson and D.J. Moore receiving bumper new deals as a result of their growing influence.
Burns is heading into a crucial fourth season in Carolina. He took another step forward last time around to secure nine sacks and a first Pro Bowl selection, but there are still some areas that need refinement if the former first-round pick wants to become an elite edge defender.
The Panthers chose to let Haason Reddick leave for the Philadelphia Eagles rather than offer him a big-money extension. This piles more pressure on Burns to come through with the goods and secure double-digit sacks for the first time in his career.
There is nothing to suggest Burns isn’t capable of such accomplishments. He has also bulked up throughout the offseason to ready himself further for the challenges that lie ahead.
Should Burns take the expected leap during the upcoming campaign, then Carolina will be shelling out a substantial sum to keep him around. That’s why the prospect of something getting done before Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns cannot be ruled out.