Carolina Panthers GM Dan Morgan reveals tipping point in Brian Burns saga

Dan Morgan
Dan Morgan / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers general manager Dan Morgan revealed a potential tipping point in the ongoing contract saga with edge rusher Brian Burns.

Dan Morgan is a busy man right now. He's got a huge job on his hands in pursuit of turning the Carolina Panthers into a respectable force once again. Recruitment is always the focal point of fans. But the franchise also boasts some tricky upcoming decisions with pending free agents.

There is none more important than Brian Burns. The star edge rusher had his contract situation completely mismanaged by the previous regime. While Morgan was also complicit to a certain extent, it's unlikely he'd have had much influence where this particular issue is concerned. That responsibility fell to Scott Fitterer, Samir Suleiman, and team owner David Tepper.

Carolina Panthers haven't ruled anything out with Brian Burns

Morgan provided some clarification on the predicament between Burns and the Panthers. A critical meeting with the player's representatives at the NFL Scouting Combine will likely determine what comes next. The front-office leader was also keen not to rule out anything based on comments via USA Today Sports.

"We’re still workin’ through those conversations. Actually meeting with his agent, Todd France, within the next couple of days. We’ll have a little more clarity on the situation after that. But we’re workin’ on it. We would definitely use it [the franchise tag] if we had to use it. And we love Brian. Brian’s a Panther. Somebody that I know, that I’m close to. I played with his brother. So, definitely love Brian. But all options are on the table."

Dan Morgan via USA Today Sports

We are a little less than two weeks away from the legal tampering period getting underway. There appears almost no chance Burns will be allowed to test the market. The Panthers aren't exactly blessed with consistent pass-rushers. Letting their best edge presence by a considerable margin depart for nothing is not an option. If that means the franchise tag, so be it.

While Morgan wasn't giving too much away, it raised the stakes slightly. Someone within the Panthers leaking information about Burns' contract demands to the media didn't go unnoticed by the player. Whether it increased the animosity is up for debate.

It's evident that the tipping point centers on their upcoming meeting with Todd France. The agent will have instructions from Burns about which path to take. He also has a figure in mind that would keep him around long-term.

Contracts aren't as easy as just a certain amount per year and that's it. How the deal is structured and what clauses lie within it also factor heavily into the equation. Of course, the guaranteed money is another potential stumbling block.

Having Brandt Tilis part of these discussions is an X-factor the Panthers haven't had previously. His expertise in contract management and handling the salary cap was a huge part of the Kansas City Chiefs' success behind the scenes. If anyone can find some common ground that keeps everyone happy, he's the man.

Burns has declared a willingness to stick around, although he's prepared for every eventuality. The Panthers also need to remove the belief they're more than willing to part ways with their best players. Morgan acknowledged as much during his introductory presser.

It shouldn't be much longer before fans get definitive clarification on Burns' future. All signs point to the franchise tag, but nothing has been dismissed one way or another - including a tag-and-trade.

How will this long-running saga end? Time will tell…