Carolina Panthers star seeking massive contract figure ahead of Week 1

Carolina Panthers star edge rusher Brian Burns had been a hold-in throughout training camp as the former first-round pick from Florida State eyes a new contract.

This changed to an extent on Wednesday with a few days to go before Carolina’s season opener against the Atlanta Falcons. Burns was seen in full pads during practice, which is a clear indication that he’ll go on Sunday.

Despite this, other news around the NFL on Wednesday could change the dynamics regarding the Pro Bowl pass rusher and his team.

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San Francisco 49ers edge rusher Nick Bosa inked a five-year, $170 million contract extension. It makes him the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history at $34 million annually.

We’re also now hearing more on Burns’ contract demands. While they are not up there with Bosa, the numbers are still staggering.

According to David Newton of ESPN, Burns is seeking between $27-28 million annually. Meanwhile, Carolina is said to be offering $23 million per season.

“My view of Brian Burns doesn’t diminish at all. We understand there’s a business side to this thing we do. I still respect and admire the way he’s handled himself. I have nothing but the highest regard for Brian Burns,” Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich told reporters earlier in the week.

A difference of between $4-5 million annually might not seem like a big deal. But it can be when teams look at future roster construction and NFL salary cap health.

With that said, Burns’ importance to the Panthers can’t be denied. Over the course of his first four NFL seasons, the 25-year-old defender has recorded 77 QB hits, 43 tackles for loss and 38 sacks. He’s also coming off a second consecutive Pro Bowl nod.

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Brian Burns contract situation and the Carolina Panthers

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Carolina picked up the fifth-year option on Burns contract for the 2023 season. Under said option, he’s slated to earn $16.01 million without any long-term security as the former first-round pick prepares for free agency next March. This makes him the 19th highest-paid edge guy in the NFL on a per-year basis.

Carolina’s offer of $23 million would put him up there with fellow Pro Bowlers Maxx Crosby of the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers star Khalil Mack. On the other hand, Burns’ asking price would have him among the three highest-paid edge guys in the NFL.

The Panthers find themselves in an interesting situation with quarterback Bryce Young on a rookie contract and very few high-paid players. One figures the team would want to get this worked out ahead of Week 1. Time will tell on that front.

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