1. Brian Burns - Carolina Panthers OLB
If you don't consider Brian Burns to be a cornerstone of the Carolina Panthers franchise and someone you do not trade whatsoever, I will have questions for you.
The former Florida State stud's breakout season made him one of the 10 best pass rushers in football and more than deserving of at least $20 million per year. If anything, Burns only improved his case as to why he shouldn't be let go no matter what.
Burns has become a leader on and off the field for the organization in the last couple of seasons and even more so in the new Frank Reich regime. When he's on the field, the Panthers are simply better.
The two-time Pro Bowler is as talented as they come. Sure, he's not the biggest pass rusher in the world and he still gets nicked sometimes for his flaws as a run defender. but he improved greatly last season in that area with 17 tackles for loss and showed more speed to power than at any point during the three seasons prior.
Burns has unreal explosiveness and bend that make him unstoppable in some cases. Add on to the fact that he offers plenty from a rush move and counter perspective, and this is one of the best pure edge defenders in the game with 12.5 sacks to his name in 2022.
Entering 2023, Burns will be in the perfect scheme and positional fit under Ejiro Evero as he will be playing outside rush linebacker. This will allow No. 0 to play with more comfortability and make him even more of a threat off the edge than he already was.
The Los Angeles Rams offered a lot of draft capital in 2022 for Burns. Scott Fitterer said no to them.
The Chicago Bears asked about Burns in the No. 1 pick trade talks. Fitterer also said no to them.
Case in point: Burns is the best player on the team, and he deserves to be paid like one of the 10 best in the league at his position.