Panthers General manager rejects Rams trade proposal

Brian Burns’ extension talks with the Panthers were impacted by the rejected Rams proposal.

Before the 2022 deadline, one of the biggest trade hypotheticals during this NFL era happened when the Panthers rejected a huge offer for Brian Burns from the Rams. The Panthers suffered as a result of the unsuccessful pursuit, while the Rams entered a retooling mode and became more interested in rookie contracts as their defense for the Super Bowl LVI title went off course.

The Pro Bowl edge rusher essentially held the unsuccessful trade against the Panthers, who rejected an offer that turned out to be significantly better than the one they ultimately accepted from the Giants. Serious Carolina-Burns extension talks did not begin until 2023. Burns was traded to Carolina for a second-round pick and a trade after Los Angeles offered two first-round selections and a third for him.

Once the Panthers rejected the Rams’ proposal in October 2022,’s Albert Breer notes the tone of his talks with Carolina did not improve. While Burns would have followed Von Miller and Dante Fowler as edge pieces sent to L.A. at a trade deadline, the Carolina edge stood in a position to be extended. It is unclear if the Rams had a deal ready to go, however, and Burns’ asking price ended up too high for the Panthers. Miller was in his age-32 season when the Rams acquired him, and Fowler had not performed on Burns’ level; the Rams acquiring a 25-year-old Pro Bowler would have separated that prospective trade from the Miller and Fowler swaps.

Although the Panthers were believed to be preparing for a Burns extension during the 2022 offseason, talks did not pick up until June 2023. By the time discussions did move into high gear, then-GM Scott Fitterer — empowered after the October 2022 Matt Rhule firing — had both rejected the Rams’ offer and kept their top sack artist out of the March 2023 trade with the Bears that sent the No. 1 overall pick to Carolina.

Before pivoting to D.J. Moore, the Bears asked about Burns and Derrick Brown. The Bears’ immediate extension for Montez Sweat upon acquiring the Commanders defensive end at the 2023 deadline created another what-if for Burns, though his involvement in those trade talks ultimately proved beneficial.

Burns had sought a deal in the $30MM-per-year ballpark, with that number coming up before the 49ers’ $34MM-AAV Nick Bosa agreement. Considering the accomplishment gap between Bosa and Burns, it was understandable the Panthers balked at giving the Ron Rivera-era draftee a deal that would have topped T.J. Watt‘s then-OLB-record number. Teams asked about Burns at the 2023 trade deadline as well, but the offers were not viewed as especially close to where the Rams went.

The snag coming out of the failed Rams trade talks became the Giants’ gain, with new GM Dan Morgan and former coworker Joe Schoen linking up on a March trade. They acquired Burns for a package similar to the one they received for Leonard Williams and gave the franchise-tagged edge rusher a five-year, $141MM deal that came with $76MM guaranteed at signing. Burns, 26, ranks in the top four in AAV, total guarantees and full guarantees among edge defenders. His contract, for the time being, overlaps with Kayvon Thibodeaux‘s rookie deal.

Brown has subsequently been extended by Carolina, but Burns and Moore, the team’s cornerstones, are now gone. Bryce Young’s disappointing debut campaign in 2023 was partly caused by the team’s lackluster receiving corps. In Morgan’s first offseason as general manager, the squad patched together its OLB corps with free agency additions. In Charlotte, Jadeveon Clowney, D.J. Wonnum, and K’Lavon Chaisson are currently employed. Morgan will have the responsibility of locating an OLB pillar to eventually take Burns’ spot as the team does not currently appear to have one.

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