4 moves that would bring Carolina Panthers back to respectability in 2024

Dave Canales
Dave Canales / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers must boost their pass-rush

Brian Burns received the non-exclusive franchise tag as expected just hours before the deadline. This allows the stud edge rusher to potentially get an offer from elsewhere that the Carolina Panthers can match. If not, then a potential trade cannot be dismissed.

While Burns' contract situation has been mismanaged, letting him walk isn't an option. The Panthers have almost no pass-rushing presence aside from the former first-round pick out of Florida State. Even if he stays - which seems likely - those in power must find ways to bolster their chances of getting after opposing quarterbacks with more consistency.

The cupboard is relatively bare with Yetur Gross-Matos and Marquis Haynes Sr. set to enter free agency. Trading up for third-round selection D.J. Johnson looks like a grave error in judgment unless there is a huge surge forward during his second offseason. Finding the right reinforcements is going to be a core component of whatever improvements come their way.

This also needs to be a collective effort. The Panthers rarely played with a lead in 2023. Having a more prolific offense would give defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero chances to implement his pass-rushing strategies he didn't benefit from much last season. Otherwise, one could expect the same complications no matter what new additions arrive.

Burns is the focal point and is likely to remain as such unless the Panthers take drastic action. But as was the case this time last year, he cannot do it alone.