Carolina Panthers strengthen Brian Burns' leverage with reported trade stance

Brian Burns
Brian Burns / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers are strengthening Brian Burns' leverage at the negotiating table with their reported reluctance to trade the edge rusher.

Speculation continues to build around the Carolina Panthers becoming sellers at the 2023 trade deadline. While nothing concrete has materialized from the almost daily rumors, it is a realistic scenario when one considers the current state of affairs.

Donte Jackson, Terrace Marshall Jr., and Jeremy Chinn are reportedly on the trade block. Another name that's said to have drawn interest is Brian Burns, the Panthers' most reliable edge rusher by a considerable margin.

There's no denying that if the Panthers want to extract maximum compensation for a sustainable future, trading Burns is the only way they could potentially get a first-round pick in 2024 and more to further sweeten the pot. On the other hand, this is arguably the team's best defender and would be incredibly difficult to replace.

Carolina Panthers not entertaining offers for Brian Burns

This is a contentious issue among fans. However, a recent report from Dan Graziano of ESPN claimed that teams are being told that Burns is not available for trade under any circumstances by general manager Scott Fitterer.

Burns was seen as a foundational piece by Fitterer when he turned down a bombshell offer from the Los Angeles Rams before the 2022 deadline. This was supposedly two first-round selections (2024 and 2025) and a second-round pick in 2023.

The former Florida State prospect has been a model professional amid all his contract uncertainty. Talks during the summer fell flat and Burns cut off negotiations to focus on football matters during the season, but the Panthers refusing trade conversations with other organizations looking to secure his services only strengthens the player's position at the bargaining table.

If Carolina lost leverage by rejecting the Rams' offer, it would evaporate completely if they turn down similar inquiries for Burns in the coming days. Just why they haven't rewarded one of their most loyal and consistent performers is anyone's guess, but it's the latest in an increasing list of examples of this franchise mismanaging top-level stars.

It's not just in the David Tepper era, either.

Where the Panthers are Burns go from here is pretty simple. Carolina has no option other than to give Burns a deal that could enter the $30 million per season bracket, but they'll only have a few short weeks to work something out before turning to more drastic measures.

Don't like the figure? Tough. It's called inflation and the current NFL market.

Should talks falter once again once they resume, then the Panthers will likely place the non-exclusive franchise tag on Burns. This allows the 2019 first-round pick to negotiate with other teams - something Carolina can match if they choose.

If not, they'll get compensated accordingly with draft picks.

Good pass-rushers don't grow on trees. Burns has four sacks, nine quarterback hits, seven tackles for loss, and 10 pressures through six games - decent production from someone getting double-teamed on almost every play as the focal point of opposing protection schemes.

While parting ways with Burns is logical depending on the argument, he'd be even harder to replace. If the Panthers stand pat with him as expected, then they should pay him whatever he wants.

No excuses. No lowballing just to think they have the upper hand. Just get the deal done when the time comes.

Anything else is complete malpractice.