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The 2023 NFL season gets underway this week, and as of right now, it’s unclear if Brian Burns will be on the field or not. After being involved in the majority of the off-season activities, Burns has been absent from the team for a handful of days, and it’s likely because he’s ready for a new contract. Burns’ holdout comes as Nick Bosa awaits a new contract from the 49ers, a deal that the Panthers are waiting to be finalized before giving Burns a mega contract.

When you look at the Burns situation, what makes it tricky is that Carolina has no leverage, after they opted to not trade him away last year, when the Rams offered multiple high draft picks. Furthermore, Carolina’s defensive line is in need of a dominant pass rusher, after Marquis Haynes was put on the IR on Monday. This means that Burns’s asking price continues to increase, as he’s becoming more of a necessity than a luxury. Scott Fitterer has long said that Burns is a cornerstone piece of the franchise and that he’s going to be in Carolina for the foreseeable future. Even still, the Panthers haven’t awarded him with a new deal.

Even if Carolina is waiting to see what the market will look like after Bosa gets his deal, they have to be smart about the money they give him. While the best time to build is when your starting QB is on a rookie contract, like Bryce Young is right now, there are others down the line that will need to get paid, like fellow defensive lineman, Derrick Brown.

Frank Reich and Shaq Thompson have communicated how important it is for them to have Burns on the field this Sunday when they open the season at Atlanta, and the longer it takes to get a deal finalized, the more it will make Panther fans question if they made the wrong decision not trading him away last season.