An AFC juggernaut has been linked with a daring tag-and-trade for Carolina Panthers edge rusher Brian Burns this offseason.
There are several pressing priorities facing new Carolina Panthers front office leader Dan Morgan in the coming months. One of the more difficult is determining the future of star edge rusher Brian Burns.
It's no secret that the Panthers handled Burns' contract situation terribly. They refused to pay him the going rate last summer despite his intent to be around the team. Those who sat out around the league were paid handsomely for their stance. General manager Scott Fitterer and cap guru Samir Suleiman weren't so willing.
This left Burns feeling frustrated as the trust between Carolina's front office and the former first-round selection waned. His production dipped as a result, although it's also worth remembering that he was the primary focus of opposing protection schemes despite the ongoing emergence of Derrick Brown.
Carolina Panthers could trade Brian Burns to the Ravens
It'll be interesting to see how the Panthers approach their situation with Burns. Keeping him around on a long-term deal comes with obvious benefits attached. The Florida State product has a number in mind - possibly putting him among the league's highest-paid at the position. If Morgan and Brandt Tilis decide against it, a tag-and-trade becomes likely.
Such a scenario was explored in greater depth by Alex Ballentine from The Bleacher Report. The analyst tabbed the Baltimore Ravens as a potential suitor for Burns. Something that would net the Panthers a first-round pick, another mid-rounder in 2025, and a promising young replacement to further sweeten the pot.
"[Alex] Ballentine's proposed tag-and-trade with Baltimore would actually be a tremendous deal for both teams. The Ravens would get a more proven pass-rusher than Devid Ojabo, while Carolina would refill its draft cache. And the Panthers do need pass-rushing help, so taking a flier on Ojabo would be sensible as well. A late first-round pick wouldn't net the Panthers one of the draft's top wide receivers, but the 2024 class is expected to be deep at the position. The Panthers could potentially double-up on wideouts like Oregon's Troy Franklin and Washington's Ja'Lynn Polk at the bottom of Round 1 and with their own 33rd overall selection."- NFL scouting department, Bleacher Report
The Ravens were arguably the NFL's best team during the regular season. They were unable to get over the hump and dethrone the Kansas City Chiefs despite getting home-field advantage in the AFC championship game. Adding someone like Burns could be enough to get an already talented defense to a completely different stratosphere.
In an ideal world, all parties involved will find some common ground. Having a first-round pick would be nice, but there's no guarantee this comes with an upgrade. Especially not where someone with proven credentials such as Burns is concerned.
Burns might have secured just eight sacks in 2023, but there were mitigating circumstances involved. The Panthers have let far too many quality players leave entering their prime and paid the price. It's the wrong message to send - something that cannot continue under the new regime.
Extending one of their few cornerstone pieces such as Burns represents a strong statement of intent from the new power structure in Carolina. There has to be mutual interest, of course. If there isn't, then extracting the maximum value for the pass-rusher becomes the primary objective.
A precarious situation indeed. One that will tell us plenty about the Panthers' direction with Morgan and Tilis calling the shots.