Panthers News: Cam Newton, Brian Burns, D.J. Chark and Chandler Zavala

Delving deeper into the latest Carolina Panthers news and stories from around the media.
Cam Newton
Cam Newton / Prince Williams/GettyImages
3 of 4

Carolina Panthers OLB Brian Burns' sack projection

There's been no movement in the contract talks between Brian Burns and the Carolina Panthers. Everyone around the NFL seems to be playing chicken given how many gifted edge rushers are on the lookout for new deals, which will probably start with Nick Bosa's bumper extension from the San Francisco 49ers and trickle down.

Burns remains around the team and should be on the field in Week 1 despite not being risked during the preseason. The former first-round selection is an integral part of Carolina's plans in 2023 and beyond, with the edge presence displaying the sort of attitude throughout the offseason that should be commended.

When examining Burns' projected sack totals next season, Seth Walder from ESPN Analytics tipped the Florida State product's number at 9.6, which landed him at No. 7. This is way done from the 12.5 quarterback takedowns he secured last time around en route to a second-straight Pro Bowl honor.

"[Brian] Burns finally hit double-digit sacks after approaching that threshold in the previous two seasons. At age 25, he's in his prime and should be productive over a large number of pass rushes going forward. There are two major factors that limit his upside, however: He's on a worse team than every player above him; the Panthers' projected win total is just 7.5. That reduces the expected number of situations in which desperate opponents will be forced to pass, which creates sack opportunities. After ranking fourth in pass rush win rate (25%) at edge in 2020, Burns hasn't been on the same level since, finishing 13th (20%) in 2021 and 17th (17%) last season. That's good but not great."

Seth Walder, ESPN Analytics

This does seem extremely low. Burns is riding on the crest of a wave and should flourish further within Ejiro Evero's creative 3-4 base defense, so a double-digit campaign seems like the minimum requirement with a megabucks contract on the way.