The Carolina Panthers are fielding trade offers on starters like Christian McCaffrey and Robbie Anderson. When it comes to edge rusher Brian Burns, general manager Scott Fitterer rightfully views him as an integral piece to build around. However, the right offer can change everything and Burns is by far the best player floated in NFL trade rumors.
Teams have already called the Panthers about the 24-year-old edge rusher. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Carolina views Burns as a building block and it doesn’t intend to decimate its roster through a fire sale. With salaries skyrocketing and the highest-paid NFL players driving up their prices with each passing year, the front office might realize that trading Burns can help create a more well-rounded roster in the future.
If Carolina is even going to consider picking up the phone, the price tag will be significant. This isn’t a scenario where fans of playoff contenders can propose shipping a second-round pick and a few role players for Burns. He is ascending into NFL stardom and putting him in the right environment could unlock even more greatness.
Keeping that in mind, let’s examine three ideal destinations for a Brian Burns trade and what the Carolina Panthers might be able to get for him.
Brian Burns sparks Baltimore Ravens’ pass rush
The Baltimore Ravens have a secondary and coaching worthy of being one of the best defenses in football. Entering Week 7, Baltimore held opponents to an 87.9 quarterback rating with eight interceptions and a remarkable fourth quarter by Tua Tagovailoa is responsible for a majority of the damage done this season. Unfortunately, the Ravens’ secondary is often exposed when the pass rush can’t get home.
- Brian Burns contract: $4.308 million cap hit (2022), $16.012 million cap hit (2023)
Through its first six games, Baltimore ranks 27th in pressure rate (17.3%), 19th in sack rate (5.9%), 16th in quarterback hits (31), per Pro Football Reference. Adding Jason Pierre-Paul helped, but this overall unit still falls woefully short of what is necessary for the Ravens to compete with the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills. Burns (25 pressures, 17 hurries and four sacks) is the solution.
- Baltimore Ravens trade: EDGE David Ojab, 2023 BAL 1st, 2024 2nd
- Carolina Panthers trade: Brian Burns
From Carolina’s perspective, it lands a projected top-25 pick in a deep 2023 NFL Draft that can be used to either add a wide receiver or a defensive back. David Ojabo, viewed as a first-round talent before tearing his Achilles during the pre-draft process, is the perfect lottery ticket for the Panthers’ front office to invest in. If he returns to form in 2023, Carolina has its replacement pass rusher. Finally, the second-round pick in 2024 serves as added capital that Carolina can use in the future. While it would be a hefty price for the Ravens, Burns’ talent and youth fits perfectly with the organization’s long-term goals and its need to win now.
Seattle Seahawks make big move for 2023
It’s becoming clear very quickly that the Seattle Seahawks’ rebuild isn’t going to take nearly as long as first thought. Offensively, Geno Smith looks more than capable of being an above-average starting quarterback in the next two years. He’s working with two excellent receivers, shares a backfield with standout rookie running back Kenneth Walker III and a young offensive line is showing promise. All of that talent on that side of the ball allows John Schneider to focus on the defense.
- Brian Burns stats (career): 61 quarterback hits, 32 tackles for loss, 29.5 sacks, six forced fumbles
In his first NFL season, cornerback Tariq Wooten is already making a case for a spot in the Pro Bowl. Many believed he had a high ceiling, he is just reaching it way ahead of schedule. Seattle can also feel good about the emergence of edge rusher Uchenna Nwosu and linebacker Jordyn Brooks still flashes the ability to be a high-end starter. What the Seahawks’ defense needs is a game-wrecker who can make life miserable for Kyler Murray, Matthew Stafford and so many others.
- Seattle Seahawks acquire: Brian Burns
- Carolina Panthers acquire: DEN 2023 1st, SEA 2023 2nd, DEN 2023 2nd, Drew Lock
Thanks to the Russell Wilson trade, the Seahawks can afford to make a blockbuster move. Packaging three top-50 picks, including a likely top-20 selection, is a hefty price. It’s an acceptable cost in this situation because Seattle keeps its 2023 first and doesn’t sacrifice any picks in 2024. Carolina receives a quality return and the Seahawks add the piece that could make them a playoff team next season.
Philadelphia Eagles make big splash for Super Bowl run
Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman is more than happy to make an aggressive move if it increases the team’s Super Bowl odds. Adding James Bradberry, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Haason Reddick and Nakobe Dean helped turn this into an elite defense. If the Eagles want to beat a quarterback like Josh Allen in Patrick Mahomes for the Lombardi Trophy, though, one more piece is necessary.
- Philadelphia Eagles trade: 2023 NOS 1st, 2024 PHI 1st, Andre Dillard
- Carolina Panthers trade: Brian Burns
Burns allows defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon to get even more creative, all while helping Reddick, Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat to stay fresh. Rotating explosive edge rushers is the best way to create havoc in all four quarters, with the offensive linemen worn down late in the game. It would provide Philadelphia with another advantage, easily making this the best defense in the league.
Even the cost is warranted for a Super Bowl contender in this spot. Philadelphia would still have its own 2023 first-round selection and it possesses a pair of second-round picks in the 2024 NFL Draft. Burns would still be under team control next season and then eligible for the franchise tag in 2024. It’s the move that might just bring another championship to Philadelphia.