4 key Panthers storylines to watch over final five games in 2022

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Chuba Hubbard
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Chuba Hubbard /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /

Brian Burns breaking the Carolina Panthers’ sack record

The continued emergence of Brian Burns this season has been especially pleasing. Now widely regarded as one of the league’s most explosive defensive ends, his ability to create significant disruption consistently is a major asset and something the Carolina Panthers should build around for sustained success long-term.

There were a few raised eyebrows when the Panthers turned down a whopping trade offer from the Los Angeles Rams for Burns. But elite pass-rushers don’t grow on trees and after letting Haason Reddick walk in 2022 free agency, keeping the Florida State product around was absolutely essential.

Burns is already on 10 sacks for the season, which is a career-high. His next lofty target is to potentially break the Panthers’ all-time single-season sack record, which stands at 15 and is shared by Greg Hardy and the late Kevin Greene.

It’s a tall order. But there’s no doubt Burns is riding on the crest of a wave right now and after the Panthers showed their hand, the edge presence is going to command a significant amount when it’s time to discuss a new deal this offseason.

This bumper contract will arrive whether Burns breaks the team’s sack record or not. However, it’s something worth keeping a close eye on over Carolina’s final five fixtures.