Carolina Panthers bite the bullet as Brian Burns gets set to depart

It seems as if the star edge rusher is departing.

Brian Burns
Brian Burns / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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An NFC East team is emerging as a potential contender to lure Brian Burns from the Carolina Panthers via tag and trade.

The Carolina Panthers were not going to let Brian Burns walk. They placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on the stud edge rusher to leave all options open. Now, it seems like this long-running saga is reaching a conclusion.

It didn't take long for speculation to surface surrounding a potential tag-and-trade once the legal tampering period opened. According to Sheena Quick from FOX 1340 AM, the Panthers are currently negotiating compensation to send Burns to the New York Giants. While it's unlikely to be the No. 6 overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft, the G-Men have two early second-rounders that could be of use.

Carolina Panthers pay the price for previous regime's failings

This is a contentious issue among the fanbase. Burns is the team's only good pass-rusher. He is a two-time Pro Bowler and only just entering his prime at 25 years old. His numbers were down in 2023, but it's also worth remembering that the Panthers rarely played with a lead, so opportunities to get after the quarterback became limited.

Burns' demands and how the money was structured contractually appeared to be a clear stumbling block. Even though the Panthers lost all leverage from the moment they turned down a whopping trade offer from the Los Angeles Rams that consisted of two first-round picks and more.

The former first-rounder out of Florida State remained professional throughout camp last summer. Burns' frustrations began to show as another campaign spiraled into oblivion. They've already lost Frankie Luvu after he joined the Washington Commanders. Those in power released starting safety Vonn Bell as part of their cost-cutting measures. What defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero must make of this is anyone's guess, but he'll have to make the best out of a difficult situation once again.

Burns deserved better from the Panthers. The previous regime deserves all the criticism they have and shall receive for the complete mismanagement of this situation. He now looks set to become the latest Panthers player to depart the franchise with plenty left in the tank.

Much will depend on the compensation involved, but all signs point to the Panthers embarking on a rebuild despite signing interior offensive lineman Robert Hunt to a five-year, $100 million deal with $63 million guaranteed. But they better act fast, Bryce Young is already one year into his rookie deal.

This pending departure also completely evaporates any edge-rushing threat the Panthers have unless further additions are made. Something those in power must prioritize heavily throughout the remainder of free agency and the draft.

As for Burns? He gets a fresh start. The chance to prove Carolina wrong by thriving elsewhere. He wouldn't be the first to do that in recent years.

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