Could Brian Burns' demands force Carolina Panthers into tag-and-trade?

The situation is hanging in the balance.

Brian Burns
Brian Burns / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Could Brian Burns' demands force the Carolina Panthers into a tag-and-trade with their star edge rusher this offseason?

It won't be much longer before the Carolina Panthers and Brian Burns conclude their long-running saga. The stud edge rusher has been looking to get paid for a couple of years. No new deal has been agreed upon. While the situation was mismanaged by the likes of Samir Suleiman and Scott Fitterer, fans haven't given up hope of a positive resolution with their new regime leading the charge.

Burns stayed heavily involved during Carolina's final training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg. It's a decision he'd like to have back in hindsight. Especially considering almost everyone else who sat out last summer was paid handsomely.

The former first-round pick is officially out of contract. Negotiations are likely going to begin again in the not-too-distant future. With the two-week window to franchise tag free agents officially underway, the Panthers would be wise to prevent Burns from speaking to other teams.

Brian Burns wants 'close to' $30M per year from the Carolina Panthers

This is a sentiment echoed by David Newton of ESPN. The beat writer highlighted that tagging Burns is the most likely scenario at this juncture. He also revealed that the potential demands of close to $30 million per season weren't close to being met by the previous decision-makers, who weren't in unison on many key personnel matters.

"[Brian] Burns was seeking a long-term deal with an average salary of close to $30 million last season, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations. The two sides never got close. With Carolina expected to have about $39 million in cap space, it seems unlikely it will dedicate that much now to one player since they have so many other needs. The franchise tag, which would guarantee Burns about $23 million in 2024, seems the most likely option, allowing the team to continue negotiating a long-term deal."

David Newton, ESPN

If Burns doesn't budge from this reported figure, he could back the Panthers into a corner. They don't have much financial flexibility - especially if Frankie Luvu also gets a lucrative deal. Brandt Tilis will be responsible for moving the money around effectively. That includes exploring all options with the one-time Florida State star if contract talks stall again.

Tagging and trading Burns is a drastic approach given his importance. The NFL is a business, but the Panthers have spent far too long letting their good players leave. Dan Morgan must alter this perception to make them a more attractive destination.

Perhaps putting the non-exclusive tag on Burns could work. This would allow his agency to speak with potential suitors and gauge the market. If the Panthers decide not to match any offer, they'll get two first-round picks as compensation.

Again, this is a last resort, so to speak. It's just a sad situation for the player and the team's long-suffering support. Whether Burns is valuing himself too highly is debatable. What's not up for discussion is how poorly the Panthers have approached this critical matter with one of their cornerstone pieces.

We wait with bated breath for what comes next. In all honesty, it could go either way. But Morgan has the chance to lay down a marker by retaining an integral piece of the team's long-term puzzle.

However, this goes both ways. That's why nothing can be said with any great certainty right now.