4 Carolina Panthers on the hot seat entering Week 17 at Jaguars

The pressure is on these Carolina Panthers players in Week 17...

Donte Jackson
Donte Jackson / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Brian Burns - Carolina Panthers OLB

Brian Burns will be the first to admit things haven't gone his way this season. The Carolina Panthers were counting on the explosive pass-rusher to take another leap forward after securing double-digit sacks for the first time in 2022. Unfortunately for all parties involved, it's been far less profitable this time around.

Burns is cutting a frustrated figure more often than not. He's struggling to put up prolific numbers as the primary focus of opposing protection schemes. His ongoing contract distraction is harming his performance levels.

The former first-round pick acknowledged he needs to be better. Burns hasn't recorded a quarterback takedown since Carolina's loss at the Tennessee Titans in Week 12. He has just one sack over his last seven games and six overall on the season.

Simply put, Burns must finish the campaign strongly to enhance his chances of getting the megabucks contract he's been craving. Anything less with a new regime coming into the fold might see the guaranteed money drop when push comes to shove.

That might sound harsh, but the NFL is a business above all else.

Carolina has almost no leverage given what they've turned down for Burns before the last two trade deadlines. This contract should have been sorted out long ago, but the Florida State product must have some encouraging momentum before the time comes to resume negotiations.