Report dashes hope of Carolina Panthers receiving king's ransom for Brian Burns

The situation remains precarious between the Carolina Panthers and Brian Burns.

Brian Burns
Brian Burns / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

Anyone hoping the Carolina Panthers would get two first-round picks for franchise-tagged edge rusher Brian Burns might be out of luck.

Brian Burns receiving the non-exclusive franchise tag was a foregone conclusion from the moment he called off talks before the 2023 season. The Carolina Panthers bought themselves some time to potentially work out a long-term deal. However, there is obvious frustration from the player's perspective about how the organization has handled his situation over the last year.

Burns will get the opportunity to gather interest from elsewhere on the tag. The Panthers have the chance to match any offer the star edge rusher receives. If they think it's too much at this stage of their apparent rebuild, then working out a beneficial trade package becomes the primary objective.

Carolina Panthers could still trade Brian Burns

There appears little chance any team looking to acquire Burns will give up two first-round picks as some have speculated on social media in the tag's immediate aftermath. This was a sentiment echoed by Joe Person of The Athletic, who felt the Panthers might be able to extract one first-rounder - or the equivalent of - if they went down this particular path.

"Trading [Brian] Burns, of course, is what the Panthers should have done 16 months ago when the Los Angeles Rams offered everything but the Hollywood sign for Burns. But former GM Scott Fitterer, Morgan — then the assistant GM — and the team’s other decision-makers turned down two future first-round picks and a second from the Rams before the 2022 trade deadline. The Panthers still likely would get a first-round pick for Burns, or at least the equivalent. The decisions to move on from cornerback Donte Jackson and tight end Hayden Hurst (and potentially more to come) suggest the Panthers are leaning into a rebuild. Framing a Burns trade in that context might make it more palatable to fans who want to keep wearing their No. 0 jerseys to Bank of America Stadium."

Joe Person, The Athletic
Carolina Panthers edge rusher Brian Burns can still get offers from interested teams.
Brian Burns / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

It's clear big changes are happening in front of our eyes. The Panthers are seemingly willing to take financial hits now in their quest for a more profitable future in the coming years. Things might get worse before they get better, but fans can take some solace from the fact there is a legitimate plan at long last.

Carolina has just $13 million in available salary-cap space after placing the tag on Burns. They'd get every cent of the $24 million tag price back if they traded the former first-round pick out of Florida State. Of course, this would result in another top-level performer in their prime departing the franchise - a scenario that became commonplace under the previous regime of incompetence.

Hopefully, Burns and the Panthers can reach some middle ground and he gets the chance to stay in Carolina. But one has to wonder whether this broken relationship has passed the point of no return.

Burns is one of the league's most explosive edge rushers. His numbers were down last season, but the Panthers never had the chance to consistently play with a lead. Becoming the focal point of offensive game plans with no genuine consistency elsewhere aside from defensive lineman Derrick Brown also complicated matters.

The Panthers managed the situation horribly. These complications could have been easily avoided. Now, there's just no telling what the future holds.

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