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Carolina Panthers v Atlanta Falcons

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This time last week, it was unclear whether or not Brian Burns would suit up in the season opener against the Falcons, after a hold-in, as he was hoping to receive a new contract. While Burns would eventually suit up, and perform at a high level, he still hasn’t received a new contract. Now that won’t impact his status for Monday’s game against the Saints, it is worrisome that he hasn’t received a new contract. Nick Bosa of the 49ers, earned a big payday just before the season started, and Chris Jones of the Chiefs, received a new contract, after missing their season-opening loss to the Lions. Meanwhile, Burns is still playing on his current agreed upon contract.

During his hold-in last week, it was reported that the Burns camp was seeking $30 million annually, while the Panthers were offering him a contract in the $23 million dollar range. After Bosa received a contract worth $34 million a year, it became apparent that Burns wouldn’t settle for anything less than around $30 million. What makes Carolina’s reluctance to pay him odd, is they had the opportunity to move off of Burns for the long term, when the Rams offered two first-round picks, and a second-round pick for him last season at the trade deadline. The minute that Carolina turned down that offer, all the leverage went to Burns, and now that he’s using his leverage, the Panthers want to play hardball with their best pass rusher.

Technically the Panthers don’t have to give Burns a new contract, as they can franchise tag him in the upcoming off-season. If you remember, a franchise-tagged player gets paid based on the average of the top five players at that given position. When you look at what Burns would get paid if he were to get franchise-tagged, that number would be roughly $27.5 million, just under his current asking price. General manager, Scott Fitterer has stated publicly that Burns is a cornerstone piece of the franchise, and that they expect him to be in Carolina for the long haul. Panther fans won’t feel better about that until they see their premier defensive player, rewarded with the long-term contract they feel he has earned.

When the contract talks first became a major talking point, Walker Mehl from the Wes & Walker Show, believed that Burns was going to earn somewhere in the $25 million dollar range. As for his co-host, Wes Bryant, he was always under the impression that Burns was going to ask for $30, and ultimately he was right. The Panthers aren’t going to pay him the same money the 49ers paid Nick Bosa, but they also know that Burns isn’t going to accept a contract that is substantially less than his either. The Panthers may not be built to win a Super Bowl right now, but the best time to build a contender is when your QB is on a rookie contract, like Bryce Young is right now, meaning it would benefit all involved if the Panthers would go ahead and give Burns the money he desires, to ensure his future is in Carolina.

You can catch the Wes & Walker Show every day from 12-3 PM on Sports Radio 92.7 WFNZ, and the WFNZ app.