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Carolina Panthers star active despite contract dispute

The Carolina Panthers are set to open their regular season Sunday afternoon against the Atlanta Falcons. As the Frank Reich era gets going, there was a major cloud hanging over the organization.

That’s the status of two-time Pro Bowl edge rusher Brian Burns who was absent from practice several times over the past two weeks. Burns, 25, is entering the final year of his rookie contract and wants a lucrative contract extension.

Unlike fellow star defender Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs, this will not keep the youngster out of action against Atlanta. Burns is indeed active despite sitting out practice in the recent past.

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This is no small thing for a Panthers team that’s going to be relying on its defense early on with rookie quarterback Bryce Young leading things on the other side of the ball.

A first-round pick out of Florida State back in 2019, Burns has recorded 77 QB hits, 43 tackles for loss and 38 sacks. He’s coming off a second consecutive Pro Bowl appearance.

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Burns is set to earn $16.01 million in 2023 under the fifth-year option of his rookie contract. He’s said to be demanding between $27-28 million annually with the Panthers offering roughly $23 million. That’s a pretty significant split.

The record-breaking five-year, $170 million extension fellow edge rusher Nick Bosa signed with the San Francisco 49ers ahead of Week 1 could complicate things on this front.

Despite this, Burns is going to be there for his team to open the 2023 season. Whether he remains with the Carolina Panthers through the Oct. 31 NFL trade deadline remains to be seen.

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