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Monday was the opening to the franchise tag window, meaning all eyes in the Panthers fanbase are back on edge rusher Brian Burns as his pursuit of a long term deal with the team continues.

On Wednesday, Panthers beat writer for The Athletic Joe Person had a report that the team was willing to go as high as five years, $27 million per year, but that Burns is looking for something in the $30 million range. Earlier today, Person joined the Mac & Bone Show and provided a little more context on that report. “Just ​because ​that ​was ​the ​last ​offer ​they ​made, I ​don’t ​have ​all ​the ​details ​to ​how ​much ​was ​guaranteed. ​What ​was ​the ​signing ​bonus? ​It’s ​one ​thing ​to ​put ​out ​the ​number, ​the ​average ​annual ​value ​number ​the A​AV, ​but ​there’s ​always ​more ​to ​these ​contracts, ​as ​you ​guys ​well ​know.”

Person not only provided that clarity but also gave his opinion on what he thinks will happen this offseason. “Do ​I ​think ​a ​deal ​is ​going ​to ​get ​done ​before ​March ​5? ​No. ​I’d ​be ​shocked. ​I ​don’t ​even ​know ​how ​much ​time ​they’re ​really ​spending ​on ​that ​right ​now. ​So ​I ​think they ​go ​ahead ​and ​put ​the ​non ​exclusive ​tag ​on ​him, ​and ​then ​they ​decide ​at ​some ​point, ​are ​we ​going ​to ​start ​negotiating ​with ​him ​again? The ​last ​time ​the ​Panthers ​used ​a ​tag ​was ​2021 ​on ​Taylor ​Moton, ​and ​that’s ​exactly ​what ​happened ​that ​summer. They ​started ​talking ​again, ​and ​they ​reached ​a ​deal ​where ​he ​didn’t ​have ​to ​play ​on ​the ​tag. ​So ​I ​think ​that ​would ​be ​good ​if ​Dan ​Morgan ​and ​Dave ​Canales ​and ​Brant ​Tillis ​believe ​that ​Brian ​Burns ​is ​an ​integral ​part ​of ​this ​team.”

Burns’s teammate, long snapper JJ Jansen, also joined the Mac & Bone Show earlier this morning and says that the two sides seem to still be trying to find some middle ground. “A ​year ​and ​a ​half ​ago, ​when ​the ​trade ​was ​turned ​down, ​you ​knew ​that ​a ​lot ​of ​these ​things ​were ​likely ​to ​come ​up. ​It’s ​a ​long ​process, ​negotiating ​a major ​deal ​for ​a ​prime ​player ​on ​your ​team ​in ​the ​prime ​of ​his ​career. ​So ​none ​of ​this, ​to ​me, ​is ​a ​surprise, ​as ​they‘ve ​kind ​of ​worked ​back ​and ​forth, ​team ​and ​player, ​working, ​trying ​to ​get ​to ​a ​middle ​ground. ​Remember, ​there ​has ​to ​be ​two ​sides ​to ​it. ​So ​anything ​Burns ​turned ​down ​wasn’t ​good ​enough ​for ​him, ​and ​anything ​that ​the ​team ​is ​offering ​what ​they’re ​willing ​to ​go ​to. ​So they‘re ​still ​trying ​to ​find ​a ​middle ​ground.”

Jansen also talked about how there are benefits for Burns to playing on the tag or signing the long deal. “What ​every ​player ​is ​looking ​for ​is ​the ​long ​term ​deal. ​​The ​long ​term ​deal ​becomes ​the ​biggest ​chunk ​of ​money ​from ​aguaranteed ​standpoint, but the ​value ​of ​going ​year ​to ​year ​for ​the ​player ​is ​they ​usually ​are ​able ​to ​maximize ​their ​dollars, ​because ​year ​to ​year, ​you ​go ​to ​free ​agency ​every ​year. With ​a ​franchise ​tag, ​you ​won’t ​get ​to ​go ​to ​free ​agency ​yet, ​but ​you’re ​getting ​paid ​a ​ton ​of ​money ​to ​go ​to ​free ​agency ​before ​you ​go ​to ​free ​agency. ​Then ​in ​two ​years, ​he’d ​be ​27, ​he’d ​be ​a ​free ​agent. ​So ​there ​is ​value ​in ​going ​year ​to ​year, but there’s ​also ​tremendous ​value ​in ​getting ​the ​one ​big ​contract. ​So ​I ​think ​that’s ​what ​both ​sides ​are ​weighing.”

Brad Spielberger, salary cap analyst for Pro Football Focus, was the final person that joined Mac & Bone on Thursday and he said that the sooner the deal can get done, the better for the Panthers. “The ​longer ​you ​wait, ​the ​more ​the ​market ​is ​going ​to ​go ​up . ​We ​saw ​Nick ​Bosa ​sign ​a ​deal ​for ​$34 ​million ​a ​year ​last ​year. ​Obviously, ​I’m ​not ​saying ​he’s ​going ​to ​get ​into ​those ​numbers, ​but ​that’s ​kind ​of ​the ​nature ​of ​what ​happens ​when ​a ​big ​contract ​comes ​through ​and ​rises ​every ​deal ​behind ​it. ​Now, ​you’re ​going ​to ​see ​Josh ​Allen ​and ​Jacksonville ​probably ​also ​get ​franchise ​tagged ​like ​Burns, ​but he has ​as ​an ​argument ​to ​become ​the ​next ​million ​per ​year ​edge ​rusher. ​So ​even ​if ​you ​don’t ​think ​Burns ​is ​kind ​of ​on ​the ​level ​of ​the ​guys ​at ​that ​number. You ​look at ​TJ ​Watt ​at ​$28 million, ​Joey ​Bosa ​at $27 million. ​Those ​guys ​signed ​their ​deals ​three, ​four ​years ​ago. ​That’s ​just ​kind ​of ​how ​the ​market ​tends ​to ​go. ​Burns ​is ​worth 27, ​$28 ​million ​a ​year, ​maybe ​not 30, but he’s ​certainly ​up ​in ​that ​area ​as ​one ​of ​the ​better ​pure ​pass ​rushers ​in ​the ​NFL. ​I ​know ​there ​was ​some scattered ​production ​this ​past ​season, ​but ​he’s a ​really, ​really ​good ​player, ​a ​foundational ​piece and ​a ​cornerstone ​of ​a ​defense. That’s ​his ​market.”

The Panthers will have until March 5th to decide if they will place the franchise tag on Burns or sign him to a long-term deal.