Should the Carolina Panthers trade Brian Burns before 2023 deadline?

The topic has been revisited by fans and the media...

Brian Burns
Brian Burns / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

Should the Carolina Panthers explore the possibility of trading edge rusher Brian Burns after their disappointing start to the 2023 campaign?

All the excitement and optimism about the Carolina Panthers heading into the 2023 season has completely disintegrated. What's replaced it is far more in keeping with what's been considered the norm around the franchise since Ron Rivera was fired.

One doesn't have to look far on social media to witness finger-pointing, anger, and even some conspiracy theories among the fanbase. The Panthers are 0-4 and going nowhere fast, with road games at the Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins indicating Frank Reich's men could be 0-6 at their bye week.

That is unacceptable for a team that sold dreams of winning the NFC South and making noise in the postseason before competitive action began. Although talk of rebuilding isn't in the team's train of thought currently, that might not be the case for much longer.

Carolina Panthers could trade Brian Burns for the right price

The Panthers have no first-round pick in 2024 - likely to be a high-end selection - following their trade with the Chicago Bears to land quarterback Bryce Young. There aren't many players in Carolina's locker room that could extract this sort of compensation, which led Joe Person of The Athletic to suggest those in power might explore the possibility of trading star pass-rusher Brian Burns before the deadline.

"If the Panthers continue at their current pace, they’ll need to think hard about dealing Pro Bowl edge rusher Brian Burns, the one player who could help them recoup some of the draft capital they traded to the Chicago Bears to move up to draft Young. General manager Scott Fitterer needs to start restocking the pick pantry, whether he’s still around for the draft or not. The haul for Burns likely wouldn’t be as substantial as the Los Angeles Rams’ offer of two first-round picks and a third at last year’s deadline, since the acquiring team would have to meet Burns’ contract demands of becoming one of the league’s top-paid edge rushers or use a franchise tag expected to be north of $21 million for defensive ends in 2024. Trading Burns would leave the Panthers with no ascending edge rushers on the roster. So be it."

Joe Person, The Athletic

General manager Scott Fitterer turned down a whopping trade offer from the Los Angeles Rams for Burns in 2022. This included two first-rounders (2024 and 2025), together with a 2022 second-rounder - a deal he is unlikely to receive again.

Since Fitterer refused to trade Burns and denied Chicago's request to include him in their trade to No. 1 overall, the player's representatives and the Panthers haven't been able to work out a long-term deal. An astonishing turn of events for many considering Carolina lost all leverage in negotiations the moment they said no to the Rams.

Burns called off talks to focus on football. But just four weeks in, the former Florida State star looks visibly dejected with how things are unfolding with yet another losing campaign staring Carolina in the face.

With a need to recoup assets and no new contract sorted out, it's not hard to see why Burns' name might come up in trade discussions. But this would leave the Panthers without their only reliable pass-rusher and signals throwing in the towel so soon into Reich's head coaching tenure.

It's a fine line that could genuinely go either way if the Panthers lose their next two games. If those in power do end up trading Burns, they better have a clear plan in place to use the assets more positively than they've managed with other high-profile trades during the Fitterer era.